The Hong Kong and Shanghai joint investment mission to the Philippines organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in association with the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce ends their 3-day visit in the country last Tuesday (April 24) bringing with them investment prospects and networks.

It was a timely visit as President Rodrigo Duterte has made infrastructure development a top socio-economic development priority in the country. Under his Build Build Build initiative, a list of mega infrastructure projects amounting to USD160 billion in the pipeline. Infrastructure spending is ambitiously targeted to expand to 7% by 2019.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative promotes connectivity and economic cooperation among countries along the Belt and Road routes (which includes the Philippines) to further market integration in the region. This initiative can provide the much-needed infrastructure financing to PDU30’s Build Build Build campaigns.

The high-level Hong Kong-Shanghai delegation led by HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo is made up some 40 business leaders and services providers coming from a wide range of industries that includes consultancy, architecture, energy, waste and water treatment, engineering and construction, legal and accounting, transportation and other sectors.

Aside from the Philippines’ Build Build Build initiatives and the two country’s friendly stature, the delegation is motivated by some of the country’s latest economic developments:

  • The Philippine economy is expected to maintain strong growth of 6.6% in 2017, led by robust domestic demand and a recovery in exports.
  • Consumer price inflation is forecast at 3.1% in 2017, up from 1.8% in 2016, mainly due to higher housing, utilities, transport and education costs. Banko Sentral has kept the policy rate unchanged at 3% since June 2016.
  • The Philippines is the 19th largest export market for Hong Kong in 2017. HK total exports to the PH rose 12% year on year (YOY) to USD 3.6 Billion – over the same period HK imports from the PH increased by 27.6% USD 9.8 Billion. Major exports are semiconductors, electronic valves and tubes, computers and telecom equipmment and parts.
  • As a member of ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area), the Philippines  is committed to tariffs reduction for ASEAN imports to a 5% cap on all products. And with the implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), basically all tariff lines have been brought down to zero.

In November last year, both China and the Philippines reaffirmed their commitments to deepen cooperation in infrastructure construction, agriculture, investment and other areas centering on the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Philippines has also entered into over 10 bilateral co-operation agreements with China.

“Our economic, trade and cultural ties are closer than ever with the growing outreach and exchange, such as our mission. Offering a combination of capital, professional expertise and production capability from Hong Kong and Shanghai, we hope to collaborate with partners in the Philippines to turn investment opportunities into bankable ventures.” said Vincent Lo

During the three-day visit that started last April 22 (Sunday), the delegation met with local government officials, agencies and business leaders to explore and discuss potential collaborations between Hong Kong, Shanghai and the Philippines on investment opportunities.

BCDA Chairman Gregorio D. Garcia III, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Co-mission Leader Dr. Jonathan Choi, HKTDC Chairman Vincent Lo, Kaiquan Pump Group President Lin Kaiwen, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Raymond Yip

At the luncheon, Hong Kong’s unique advantages as a facilitator for infrastructure development and doing business with the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world were promoted. These advantages include the city’s international network, rich talent pool, sound financial system, fair legal structure and efficient infrastructure.

Speaking at the luncheon, co-mission leader Dr. Jonathan Choi, Chair of the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Sunwah Group said,

“The delegation is impressed by the prospects of upcoming projects in the country. Apart from capital needs, we also see high demand for total solutions for infrastructure development. In our delegation there are representatives of a wide range of services providers, from architectural and engineering, construction, information technology, project management and operation to legal and risk managements. They are ready to contribute their expertise to the planned development projects”

Established in 1966, HKTDC is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses and promotes the country as a solid platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world.

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