On 8 February 2017, H.E. Mme. Yang Xiuping, Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), met with H.E. Mr. Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines (DTI) in Manila. Ms. Atty Ann Claire C. Cabochan, Director of International Business Department of DTI, Mr. Jin Yuan, Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, and Mr. Zhang Xuehai, Deputy Director of Information and Public Relations Division of ACC attended the meeting.
Secretary-General Yang Xiuping positively evaluated the fruitful results of the China-ASEAN and China-Philippines cooperation on trade and investment. She said that despite the sluggish recovery of the world economy, ASEAN-China trade volume exceeded 450 billion US dollars in 2016, while bilateral trade between the Philippines and China maintained a sound growth with a total volume of over 47 billion US dollars. The “Belt and Road” Initiative, ASEAN Community building and the implementation of the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA will create new opportunities for ASEAN-China and Philippines-China cooperation on trade and investment.
Trade and investment cooperation is one of the priority areas of ACC, Secretary-General Yang said. ACC has made continuous efforts to raise the awareness of the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA and ASEAN Economic Community, actively bridged enterprises of both sides, vigorously advanced practical cooperation in the fields such as industrial capacity, agriculture and poverty reduction, etc. According to the work plan approved by ACC Joint Council, ACC would continue to organize Chinese enterprises missions to visit ASEAN countries, promote cooperation between local provinces of both sides, enhance exchanges and cooperation in e-commerce and other areas. ACC would also continue to strengthen its links with sub-regional cooperation mechanisms including Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). ACC expects to intensify communications with the Philippines and looks forward to the continued support and active participation of the Philippine side in the activities to be held by ACC, with a view to further advancing ASEAN-China and Philippines-China win-win cooperation on trade and investment.
Secretary Lopez extended a warm welcome to Secretary-General Yang. He said the successful visit of President Duterte to China last year injected fresh impetus to the bilateral relations, where President Duterte and President Xi Jinping reached broad consensus on deepening Philippines-China economic cooperation. The Philippines hopes to upgrade the level of bilateral economic cooperation by fully implementing the consensus through mechanisms such as Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC) to lay a more solid foundation for the development of bilateral relations. As the chair of ASEAN, the Philippines would join hands with other ASEAN Member States and the dialogue partners to advance the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiation and lift the regional economic cooperation to a new high. He commended ACC’s efforts in promoting trade and investment and said the Philippines attaches great importance to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and e-Commerce, and expects more Chinese investment. He believed that ACC could continue to play a unique role and make bigger contribution to further promote Philippines-China and ASEAN-China cooperation.