Statement by Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on China-Philippines Pragmatic Cooperation
2022-06-13 17:40

1.We heard the news that significant progress has been made for Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC) project, could you please tell us more about this spotlight project’s progress?

A: Today, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian and Finance Secretary Dominguez exchanged the signed Framework Agreement (F/A) and Loan Agreement (L/A) for SIDC. According to the agreement, the Chinese government will provide a concessional loan of approximately 350 million US dollars to the Philippine government to support this project.

It is an important cooperation project between our two governments, and also one of the flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program. The signing of the agreements marks the long-awaited cross-sea bridge being turned from a vision into a reality. Connecting Davao city and Samal Island, it is a two-way four-lane 3.86-km bridge. Once completed, this bridge will provide a resilient and reliable transportation link between Davao city and Samal Island, improving transportation efficiency, promoting internal mobility, and stimulating tourism potential. Also, during the construction, thousands of jobs would be created, contributing to local economic recovery and improving people’s livelihood. 

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian and Finance Secretary Dominguez exchanged the Framework Agreement and Loan Agreement for Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project.

Design Sketch of Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project

2.The government-to-government (G-to-G) cooperation between China and the Philippines has continued to deliver benefits. Could you please introduce the overall situation and prospects of the G-to-G cooperation projects?

A: Under the current Philippine administration, China and the Philippines have comprehensively coordinated and synergized the Belt and Road Initiative with the “Build, Build, Build” program. Our G-to-G cooperation spans from anti-pandemic response, disaster relief to highways and bridges, agricultural cooperation, and other fields. Currently, 16 projects in total have been completed, and more than 20 projects are under implementation or in progress.

Over the past two years, Covid-19 has greatly impacted implementation of some projects, hindering the site availability, causing delays of procurement, affecting goods mobility, and so on. In addition, the length of implementation of prominent infrastructure projects were prolonged. Despite those difficulties and challenges, our two sides have worked tirelessly to push the projects forward and yielded fruitful outcomes.

The China-aid Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Manila was completed and open to traffic last July, far ahead of schedule; the China-aid Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila was inaugurated in April this year; The Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) befitted an estimate of 134,000 Filipino farmers and raised the grain yield by 308 million kg; the Covid-19 vaccines donated by China was the first batch that the Philippine government received to fight the pandemic; batches of medical supplies donated by China arrived in the Philippines timely, including test kits, ventilators, surgical masks, and other personal protective equipment; and the 10,000 tons of rice donation has been handed over and helped with the relief efforts of Super Typhoon Odette last year. The Chico River Pump Irrigation project will be completed soon and act as a solution to the irrigation woes for a total of 8,700 hectares of farmland in Cagayan and Kalinga provinces.

These projects were made possible with the cooperation, dedication and hard work of both the Chinese and Philippine governments to strengthen our partnership, and most importantly, to help improve the livelihood of the Filipinos. In the future, China is willing to work with the Philippine side to further strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, education, and other fields, and promote the continuous implementation of more G-to-G cooperation projects, so as to bring more benefits to our two peoples.

China-aid Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila 

China-aid Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila 

Aerial photography of the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT)

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian and Agriculture Secretary William Dar attended the Inauguration Ceremony of the PhilSCAT Phase III.

3.Please briefly introduce the achievements of China-Philippines pragmatic cooperation under the Duterte administration, and the future development of bilateral cooperation with the incoming Philippine government.

A: In the past six years, under the guidance of our two leaders, China and the Philippines have worked closely to push pragmatic cooperation to new heights.

Bilateral trade has grown steadily. According to Chinese statistics, the total trade volume between China (mainland) and the Philippines in 2021 reached US$82.05 billion, a year-on-year increase of 34% and doubled that of six years ago. China has continued to expand the import of products from the Philippines, opening its doors to fresh coconuts, frozen fruits, and avocados. According to Philippine statistics, China was the Philippines' largest trading partner and second largest export market. If Hong Kong is included, China would become the Philippines' largest export market, accounting for 28.8% of the latter's total exports, and the total trade volume would account for 25.1% of the Philippines' foreign trade. Chinese investment in the Philippines is booming. According to Philippine statistics, from 2016 to 2021, China’s cumulative approved investments in the Philippines totaled 161 billion pesos, quadrupling that of the previous six years. This has made China the second largest source of foreign investment in the Philippines during the period.

In terms of infrastructure, Chinese enterprises have built a large number of highways, bridges, and water conservancy projects in the Philippines, and are jointly exploring and improving local educational infrastructure with the Philippine side. In terms of agriculture, China is the top supplier of fertilizers and pesticides to the Philippines, and the second largest supplier of agricultural machinery and seeds. The Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) project has been bringing advanced hybrid rice breeding technology to the Philippines for more than 20 years. In terms of energy, Chinese enterprises have been constructing a number of coal-fired, wind, photovoltaic and hydro power stations in the Philippines. Among those, the Philippines’ largest coal-fired power station has been successfully connected to the grid, and the largest photovoltaic project is expected to be operational next year.

We are glad that our pragmatic cooperation has contributed to the Philippines’ efforts to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood. With advantage in technology and capital, China is willing to deepen cooperation with the Philippines in the aforementioned sectors in the future to enlarge the cake of mutual benefits, advance our bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and deliver more tangible benefits to our peoples.

From 2016 to 2021, bilateral trade between China and the Philippines has remained an average growth of 11.7% per year, with a cumulative trade volume of US$182.5 billion in the past six years.

Growth trend of Philippine exports to China from 2016 to 2021

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