MANILA— After a five-year hiatus, the Philippines and China have revived the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC) — the bilateral mechanism for trade, investments, and economic discussions between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan concluded the 28th JCETC and signed various agreements that were discussed during the bilateral meeting.
Among the agreements reached by the Philippines and China during the JCETC include the following:
- signing of the Six-Year Development Program for Economic and Trade Cooperation (SYDP) this month;
- exchange of notes on the operational procedures to utilize China’s concessional loans to support Philippine government projects;
- utilization of available credit facility to finance feasibility studies and construction of infrastructure projects in the Philippines through available credit facility;
- providing grants for construction of two bridges over Pasig River;
- conducting capacity building programs for rice experts and aquaculturists;
- establishing alert mechanism and undertaking prompt notification on the incidence of plant and animal diseases;
- developing of a protocol governing the handling and resolution of cases of detection and non-compliance;
- expanding the scale of agricultural trade;
- identifying possible locations of the proposed Philippines-China Industrial Park; and
- endorsing complementary areas for further studies and private sector participation in various sectors
“The re-activation of the JCETC mechanism coincides with our celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China and marks a milestone in our bilateral relations,” Lopez said.
The JCETC is also the first outbound mission and bilateral meeting of Zhong, as he was named as new Chinese Minister of Commerce last month, succeeding former Minister Gao Hucheng.
Prior to Zhong’s mission in Manila, five Chinese companies presented their letters of intent to invest in the Philippines.
The investments eyed by these Chinese firms amounted to more than USD10.4 billion which hoped to generate some 11,500 jobs, according to Lopez.
“Taking advantage of the thrust of the current administration to rebalance engagements with Asian neighbors and the mutual high-level policy support for renewed bilateral economic ties, the Department of Trade and Industry has worked closely with partner agencies and the Ministry of Commerce to ensure concrete harvest of quick wins for both sides,” Lopez said.
“As we embark on renewed ties, it is imperative that we look back and recall that, in truth, the ties of friendship between us were never completely severed and continues to this day,” he added.