MANILA -- Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua has vowed to balance trade and investments with the Philippines.
During the Philippine-China Investment Forum in Makati City on Friday, Zhao said despite the long diplomatic relations of the two countries, bilateral trade and investments remained moderate.
Between the two nations, the balance of trade favors China since the Philippines import more products from China as well as invests more in China.
The Chinese envoy reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit last year has opened great opportunities for Manila and Beijing as both governments agreed for closer economic cooperation.
"We enter into new era of comprehensive development of our bilateral relations," Zhao said.
"The essence of our bilateral relationship must lie into serving the mutual interest of our people," he added.
In a span of seven months, China's import of tropical fruits from the Philippines like banana, mango, and pineapple increased by USD 100 million, according to Zhao.
He cited that two-way trade of China and the Philippines reached USD 47.2 billion last year, increasing by 3.3 percent from 2015's figure.
He noted that China's trade with other ASEAN countries last year registered decrements, except for the Philippines.
"We are very confident about the relations of our two countries. Our bilateral and economic relations remained vigilant, resilient. China, despite those difficult years, China remains second trading partner of the Philippines," the envoy said.
Moreover, Zhao said China was also eyeing to establish its first industrial park in the country.
China has eight industrial parks in ASEAN, but none in the Philippines.
"We will balance and invest more in the Philippines," the envoy said.
He added that more Chinese tourists are also expected to visit the country this year.
The envoy also targets one million Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines at end-2017. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency