By Zhang Zhiwen
Bangkok – As the second most populated country in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is searching for more trade opportunities with China in the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai this year, said Ramon Lopez, Philippine secretary of trade and industry, on Thursday.
Lopez said that the CIIE is a major international event that reiterates China’s strong support for trade liberalization, as well as efforts to open the Chinese market to the world.
“For the Philippines, the CIIE will be the biggest ever overseas trade fair that our country will participate in,” said Lopez. “More than 100 exporters from the country, including products and services, will participate in the CIIE, including investors and government representatives.”
Lopez said the CIIE can serve as an important opportunity to showcase the trade capabilities of the Philippines, and the available investment opportunities between two counties.
What’s more, this engagement shows the strong ties between the Philippines and “our good friend and neighbor” China.
Zhao Jianhua, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, described the current Sino-Philippine relations as “coming into the new era comprehensively”.
According to China’s statistics in 2017, bilateral trade was $51.2 billion, increasing by 8.5 percent year-on-year, and China has been the largest trade partner and importer of the Philippines.
New investment from Chinese enterprises in the Philippines increased by 67 percent to reach $53.84 million. Some 1 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines last year, and China ranks the second tourist source to the Philippines.
“The CIIE will offer sustainable opportunities for more advantageous,characteristic, and competitive products and services from the Philippines coming into the mega Chinese market, to reduce the deficit, as well as enlarge and improve bilateral trade, leading our trade and economic cooperation upgrade to the new stage,” said Zhao.
The CIIE is a major step for China to firmly support trade liberalization and economic globalization to open markets to the world, said Liu Jun, economic and commercial councilor at the Ministry of Commerce of China.
So far, more than 3,000 enterprises from different countries and regions have confirmed their attendance and will bring their most competitive products, and more than 150,000 domestic and foreign purchasers will participate in the expo, he added.
The first CIIE will be held from November 5 to 10 at the Shanghai National Exhibition and Convention Center, and will be jointly hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai municipal government.
The introduction of CIIE in the Philippines will have two other events in Cebu and Davao on March 20 and 23 respectively.