China scouting for sites for industrial parks in PH
China is looking at more than five areas in Luzon and Mindanao as potential locations for industrial parks, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
This, he said, was a follow-through to an agreement between China and the Philippines made late last year.
Lopez told the Inquirer that a Chinese delegation conducted site visits earlier this year for planned industrial parks that would cater not only to Chinese firms but also companies of other nationalities.
The Philippines and China signed an agreement on Wednesday highlighting the importance of cooperation in industrial park development, Lopez said. The agreement, which was one of 14 deals signed, was a follow-through to President Duterte’s trip in China last year.
Lopez said both sides “recognized the importance of a cooperation on industrial parks development in order to enhance the Philippines’ manufacturing base and diversify China’s overseas investments in the country.”
In October last year, the Philippines signed deals with China, one of which was a broad memorandum of understanding (MOU) on trade, investment, and economic cooperation. The state visit last year signaled the administration’s move to court China for its economic perks while taking a softer stance on the ongoing territorial dispute on the South China Sea.
He said the Department of Trade and Industry would assist China in “locating proper land parcels” for the industrial parks. For its part, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) would identify Chinese investors that would locate in these parks.
“The Chinese delegation conducted site visits early this year and identified more than five potential sites in Luzon and Mindanao,” he said, citing areas in Davao del Norte and Davao Occidental, among others.
Further details regarding this initiative—such as the cost of the investments—are still being discussed. It remains to be seen how many industrial parks China is willing to build.
In February this year, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China was exploring the possibility of putting up industrial parks in the Philippines after noting that it had built such parks in other parts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“In the Asean, we have already built eight Industrial parks but we haven’t built any in the Philippines yet,” the ambassador said in an investment forum at that time.
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