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Phl to strengthen ties with China, SEA countries 

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

The Philippines is set to strengthen its relationship with both China and the allies in the region.

In a pre-recorded video message of President Bongbong Marcos during the CAEXPO opening ceremony, the President welcomed new opportunities for the country, and undercored that the Philippines is “very much open for business.” 

CAEXPO is an annual international event held since 2004 with the aim of promoting the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA). It is considered a platform for cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, tourism, and diplomatic relations between ASEAN and China. This year’s edition was held at the Nanning International Convention & Exhibition Center (NICEC) in China from September 16-19, 2022 with the theme “Sharing new opportunities of the New Land-Sea Trade Corridor, Jointly Building the China-ASEAN Community with a Shared Future.” 

In his speech, the president extended an invitation to China to continue being its economic partner. “As we move forward and move toward stronger ties with China, we hope you can join the Philippines as it embarks on a mission to apply science, technology, and innovation to make our products and services more competitive in the global market and to pave the way for our country’s industrial transformation.”  

Further, he underscored the importance of building dynamic industry ecosystems as a foundation for “generating quality jobs, creating new products and services, improving environmental sustainability, and ensuring shared prosperity for all.” 

Encouraging the CAEXPO attendees to visit the Philippine pavilion, the president also promoted the country as a viable opportunity for investments across different sectors. He highlighted several industry clusters such as Industrial, Manufacturing, Transport (IMT); Technology, Media, and Telecommunication (TMT); and Health and Life Sciences. 

The event is expected to strengthen the relationship of the Philippines with ASEAN neighbors and China, the country’s top trading partner. In 2021, the Philippines and China’s total bilateral trade was USD38 Billion, which was 25% higher than 2020. 

A Philippine delegation of 21 food and lifestyle MSMEs took part in the exhibition component of the hybrid event. Showcasing under FOODPhilippines, the banner that positions the country as an exporter of healthy, organic, natural, and specialty food products and services. The participating brands and manufacturers highlighted the importance of local natural commodities. From the Philippines’ top premium export products, coconut products, coffee products, banana chips, and banana powder were showcased in the event. Emerging food products such as turmeric, calamansi juice concentrate with bignay, and ube powder were also displayed. 

CAEXPO’s Philippine organizing committee consists of CITEM, Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the DTI regional offices, and the DTI Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong

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