Phil-China bilateral trade post 32% growth in 10 months

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BEIJING (MindaNews/20 Dec) – Bilateral trade between China and the Philippines grew by 32 percent or $26 billion in the past 10 months of this year, the Philippine embassy here said, citing figures from China’s General Administration of Custom.

Embassy Charge d’ affaires Alex G. Chua said the trade figure is remarkable despite the pressing financial crisis in western countries.

“These statistics are an indication of the strength, resilience and potentials of the trade and economic ties between the two countries,” he said in a statement.

China is the third largest trading partner of the Philippines.

Figures show Chinese products landed in the Philippines jumped by 50 percent or $11.4 billion, while the Philippines has been steadily increasing its export to China by 21 percent or $14.6 billion.

Among the top products that are being traded are electronic and electrical products, industrial parts, nickel/copper, liquefied petroleum gas, fertilizer and ceramics, the statement said.

Philippine agricultural and agri-processed products, furniture, iron and steel and logistics-related goods have also been gaining headway in the Chinese market, but exporters are advised to continue to actively tap opportunities in the country, which has fast-rising income and consumption levels and rapid urbanization rates, Chua said.

But this year’s 10-month trade is short compared to the 2007 trade figures, which reached to $30.6 billion, before contracting in the next two years as a result of the global financial crisis.

“The recovery of the bilateral trade beginning in 2010 and a possibly strong finish with this whole year’s figures reaching pre-crisis levels augur well for the important economic relationship between the two countries, which is also seeing steady expansion in key sectors like tourism, investments and development assistance,” the Philippine embassy here said.

Chua said the trade confidence boosted following the visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III here last September where both countries have committed to reach a $60-billion trade goal by 2016.

The visit was also aimed at negotiating a peaceful settlement over the territory disputes in West Philippine Sea.

During his visit here, Mr. Aquino has earlier noted the imbalance of trade between the two countries, saying that that Filipinos are investing more in China. In 2010, Philippine investments to China amounted to $116-million, compared to China’s $86 million.

Chua said the free trade agreement between nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China also helped boost the trade growth.

He said Philippine producers stand to gain “immense benefits” from the free trade and economic agreements between ASEAN and China.

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has greatly promoted bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation in recent years with the implementation of zero-tariff policy.

In August, the Philippines, along with other four member countries of ASEAN, have edged out Japan in becoming the third largest trading partner of China with $171.12 billion in trading. (Darwin Wally T. Wee / MindaNews)

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