CHINA has been very active in providing direct investments, transportation infrastructure, purchase of local agricultural products, donation to Surigao earthquake victims and drug rehabilitation facilities, promotion of local tourism, all for the benefit of the Philippine economy.
Many of these investment items will take a couple of years to redound to concrete benefits for ordinary Filipinos. This is because the two rail projects in Mindanao, the hydroelectric dam in Kaliwa river and the irrigation project in Chico river will take more than a year to complete.
The four-day visit last week by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was also capped with the signing of a $1.7 billion purchase orders for local products, including banana, pineapple, coconut and coconut oil, mango, durian, dragon fruit, fish, duck meat, and minerals like nickel and copper.
These are all welcome developments in the nation’s economy, yes, but the most telling and that which has the best potential for the expected economic benefits to trickle down to the masses is the ongoing matchmaking event between some 350 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the Chinese market, being undertaken by the Bank of China.
Called Cross-Border Trade and Investment Conference, the event aims to open opportunities for local businesses and bridge markets across the globe.
Bank of China country head Deng Jun said they wanted to help Filipino
SMEs find opportunities in China, as part of their social responsibility. Conversely, he acknowledged that Chinese SMEs find it very hard to link up with counterparts abroad, thus the need for the bank to intervene.
On both sides of the trading route, small businesses involved in food processing, building materials, furniture, agriculture, fisheries, e-commerce and IT, construction, construction equipment, textile and garments, iron and steel, tourism, and real estate stand to benefit from this arrangement.
With the resources of the bank tapped to their fullest, services such as establishing a database, customer matching, remote online matching, one-on-one meetings, onsite surveys and financing among other bank services can be available to the participating SMEs.
It is to the credit of the pragmatic President Rodrigo Duterte that he has taken a non-confrontational approach on our maritime problems with China, and bolstered friendship with this giant neighbor thru enhanced trade that will create thousands of jobs, which is most needed by the nation.