The Department of Trade and Industry will carry out in “full force” its planned trade and investment mission to China, even as Beijing reportedly withdrew its invitation to President Aquino to attend the China-Asean Exposition (CAExpo) next week.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. Friday said that they are not scaling down their plans, and instead will give a “good business promotion” of Philippine industries during the 10th CAExpo to be held at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center starting September 3.
“We’re not holding back. [Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo] will serve as the envoy, representing the President. It’s a business activity, and we’ll be pushing the Philippines as an investment destination to both Chinese and other foreign investors,” Manalo explained.
Last Thursday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that “President Aquino has decided not to proceed [to the expo] … taking into consideration China’s request for the President to visit China at a more conducive time.”
No reason was given for the reported withdrawal of the invitation, but tension between China and other claimants to the sea, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam, have escalated in recent years as China has aggressively asserted its claims to what it considers its territorial waters.
But Manalo remained positive, saying that “the Philippines is the country of honor—an honor [China] gave us for the first time.”
Isabela will be featured prominently, he said, because the province has a lot to offer “in terms of agriculture and tourism.”
As the “country of honor,” the Philippines will have the privilege to host certain events at the second largest trade fair in China, where it can make a better pitch for inbound investments, Manalo said. Amy R. Remo