MANILA — Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual on Friday said the coming in of more Chinese investors to the Philippines would translate into more jobs for Filipinos, enhanced foreign exchange earnings and lower cost of agricultural output.
Pascual, who accompanied President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during his meetings with Chinese chief executive officers (CEOs) in Beijing during the President’s state visit to China on January 3-5, said there is huge interest from Chinese business owners and investors to invest in the Philippines or expand their operations here.
Marcos earlier had roundtable meetings with CEOs from various sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, mineral processing and e-vehicles.
“The immediate impact for Filipinos will be jobs because the importers would be buying products that are produced in the Philippines, and the (local) companies that are producing them will have to rev up or increase their production,” Pascual said in an interview.
“That means additional employment in the Philippines, and new investments also result in creation of new jobs in the Philippines,” the trade chief added.
The country’s foreign exchange earnings will also benefit from the increase in the export of agricultural products, Pascual said, pointing out that investments would mean remittances to the Philippines.
On the supply side, another benefit would be reduced cost of agricultural output, he said.
Pascual noted that because China is the Philippines’ biggest trading partner, the country can avail of foreign trade agreement concessions, or preferential treatment with respect to tariffs.
“So that opens up the market both ways between the Philippines and China. But eventually, we’ll have to negotiate [a] direct foreign trade agreement with China to focus on very specific products… for which we want greater access to the Chinese market and the Chinese will have greater access to the Philippine market,” Pascual pointed out.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the trade secretary said, will also help the Philippines do that, but mainly in the manufacturing of products.
RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its five FTA partners: Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. (PNA)