CAFTA to open broader vista for China-Philippine trade: ambassador

21:00, December 31, 2009      

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The full establishment of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) on Jan. 1, 2010 will bring greater opportunities to the Philippines, Liu Jianchao, Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, said in Manila Thursday.

In a signed article to local media, Liu said, "With strong export potentiality in electronics, agricultural produce, fruits, fishery products and minerals, the Philippines will enjoy considerable comparative advantages and expand market shares of its competitive goods. Furthermore, with the agreements on trade of services and investment coming into force, the Philippines would be well poised to boost service trade and attract investments. "

Tourism, English teaching, eco-medical and retirement care services are those areas where the Philippine Government can really turn potential into profits. More incoming investments from both China and other ASEAN countries will give driving impetus to infrastructure development in the Philippines, he said.

CAFTA will open broader vista for China-Philippine trade and economic cooperation. China-Philippine trade has registered relatively rapid growth in recent years, with the record high of more than 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2007. With CAFTA functioning in a full-fledged manner, both China and the Philippines should do more to press ahead with exchanges among prominent enterprises and to facilitate more effective bilateral cooperation in trade. China and the Philippines should work to strengthen cooperation mechanism among authorities in charge of respective areas, he said.

In addition, he said, CAFTA will spur two-way investment flow between China and the Philippines. The Chinese companies are willing to bring their infrastructure investment up to higher level in various fields such as transportation, power generation, water supply and telecommunication. At the same time, China will do its utmost to get its policies well understood by Philippine companies in terms of foreign investment in China. We remain ready to invite Philippine enterprises to tap investment potential in China.

It will also serve as catalyst for China-Philippine economic cooperation, the Chinese ambassador said. As part of package plan to boost China-ASEAN cooperation, China set up in 2009 China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund totaling 10 billion U.S. dollars. The first 1 billion dollars will soon be made available for project orientation. The Philippine government stands in a good position to make full use of this fund and determine on candidate projects according to its strategy of economic development. The Chinese side is looking forward to seeing the related application be filed at an earliest date.

Liu said, "Free trade allows China, the Philippines and other ASEAN countries to compete in CAFTA on the basis of our fundamental economic strengths and to reap the productivity and efficiency gains that promote long-run wealth and prosperity for all the peoples in the region. In reality, there is no distinction between free trade and truly fair trade.

On the road to recovery, China and ASEAN countries share common fate and shoulder common responsibility. To advance regional economic cooperation in unprecedented width and depth is particularly significant at the moment. Putting CAFTA into place is surely something in the right direction. Let's work to turn this blessing in disguise into benefits in real."

Source: Xinhua
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