by Antonio L. Colina IV and Chino S. Leyco
Davao City — A six-year Philippines-China trade and economic development program was signed here Friday by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Ernesto Pernia and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying.
Vice Minister Fu and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang were in Davao City for a four-day visit and met with some of the cabinet officials of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and NEDA Director General Pernia.
Aside from the trade and economic development agreement, the two countries agreed to undertake feasibility studies for the first two of nine projects, the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridges Project and the Davao City Expressway Project.
In their meeting, the Philippine and Chinese officials discussed recent economic developments in the country, including the recently approved Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2022, and updates on bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, trade, investments, agriculture, fishery, tourism, and financing cooperation.
The visit of the Chinese diplomats in the city was welcomed by the business community here who said they expect more opportunities to follow for investment, trade, and commerce for the city of Davao.
Finance Secretary Dominguez said China will soon conduct preliminary feasibility studies for the proposed Davao City Expressway and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges project.
He and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang signed an exchange of letters formalizing the conduct of preliminary feasibility studies for the Davao City expressway and inter-island bridge project.
Dominguez thanked China for its grant of assistance worth $91 million.
During their meeting, the officials discussed cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, trade, investments, agriculture and fisheries, and tourism; updates on the proposed infrastructure projects for Chinese funding; and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang also expressed commitment to provide assistance to the Philippines in solving Metro Manila’s traffic woes, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
China is also eyeing the provinces of Davao and Palawan as sites for its investments and cooperation with the Philippines in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, and fisheries, it added.
The vice premier assured China’s support in case the Philippines will access co-financing with multilateral development banks like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.