MANILA– The Philippines can take advantage with the economic restructuring of China, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua said on Tuesday night.
In a dinner with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and other business groups here, Zhao said the Chinese government undergoes economic restructuring to ensure quality economic growth.
Zhao mentioned that from being a manufacturing base and exporting country, China now aims to boost its domestic consumption and increase Chinese investments overseas.
He cited that in the coming five years, China targets to import USD 10 trillion worth of commodities, invest USD 500 billion outside China, and have 400 million Chinese tourists to travel abroad.
The Chinese envoy urged the Philippines to increase its import to China and attract Chinese investments and tourists here.
In 2013, China was the Philippines’ third biggest trading partner next to Japan and the United States of America.
However, the trade is favorable with China as the Philippines has higher import bill than export revenue with China.
Zhao said China now wants to be the Philippines’ largest trading partner; importing more commodities from the country particularly agricultural products.
In terms of investments, the Philippines has the least share of investments coming from Chinese investors within ASEAN.
The Philippines share in terms of Chinese investments in ASEAN was only at 2.0 percent last year.
This was far behind against Singapore which shared majority or 46.3 percent of Chinese investments in 2013.
“Chinese investments in the Philippines has not been satisfactory,” said Zhao.
He encouraged, on the other hand, Chinese investors to venture in the Philippines particularly in sectors of infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing.
“Philippines has potential to get good quality of manufacturing investments from China with the economic restructuring,” he added.
Moreover, Zhao cited that while Chinese tourists were among the top visitors in the Philippines despite the territorial dispute, other ASEAN neighbors have attracted much more Chinese tourists.
The Chinese envoy cited figures from last year that Chinese tourists to the Philippines reached 412,026 which increased 70 percent from 2012’s figure; making Chinese nationalitiy as the top third visitor in the Philippines in 2013.
However, this was still far behind Thailand which attracted three million Chinese tourists and Malaysia with four million.
Zhao stressed that ties between the Philippines and China should continue to boost both economies and further promote inclusive growth despite the issue in the West Philippine Sea.