With the scheduled visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines next week, a Chinese company will earmark $2 billion investment or about P105.2 billion to establish an industrial park in New Clark City, Pampanga.
In a report in the Financial Times, China Gezhouba Group will ink a memorandum of understanding in developing around 500 hectares property in Clark. It would be one of the largest projects under the President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program and also be one of China’s biggest investments in the country.
The sealing of the deal will coincide with President Xi’s two-day state visit to Manila..
Meanwhile, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon said Chinese technology and manufacturing companies will be using the planned industrial park in Clark. “You are talking about thousands of jobs that would be made available there once those industrial locators come in,” Dizon told the Financial Times.
The Chinese group has been waiting for official feedback from the Philippine government and looks forward to promote cooperation with the BCDA, with the help of the high-level government visit this time,” a Gezhouba official told Financial Times.
After China Telecom that recently bagged the 3rd official major telco in the country, Gezhouba will be the second Chinese company to establish major presence in the Philippine.
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The Philippines and China have agreed on $15 billion or P789 billion worth of infrastructure projects when President Rodrigo Duterte visited Beijing last year. But for some reasons, the implementation of China-backed projects have been derailed with net foreign investment flows from Beijing amounting to about P9.48 billion in the first half of 2018.
Meanwhile US Vice President Mike Pence has cautioned the Asia Pacific countries on falling into China’s debt traps. According to Pence, who spoke during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, “Projects they support are often unsustainable and of poor quality. And too often, they come with strings attached and lead to staggering debt.”
For his part, the Budget Chief Benjamin Diokno, assured the public that the Philippine government is “very careful” in choosing projects with China. he even explained by saying, “We are very careful. Number one, we choose the projects we want… Second, we would step around for the best terms.”