RP, China Strengthen Economic Relations

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE C. CHIPOINGIAN

The Philippine government and China have agreed to reaffirm its trade and economic cooperation during a recent Beijing round of talks, specifically on cement and coal supply to help in local industry requirements.

The Philippine representative, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Thomas Aquino reported that through the Philippines-China Joint Trade Committee (JTC), both nations successfully "further strengthened" trade and economic relations.

Aquino, while in Beijing, conducted talks with Chinese officials led by Vice-Minister An Min of ChinaEs Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

He said discussions centered on coal and cement domestic supply concerns. "On coal, MOFCOM agreed to intercede on behalf of the Philippine governmentEs request for timely coal supply delivery (to select power plants)," Aquino said. These are coal supplies to the Masinloc and Sual power plants considering the growing local demand.

The Philippine side also urged China to fully comply with the existing contracts forged by the state-controlled National Power Corp. with Chinese coal suppliers "so they can qualify in the awarding of future contracts," Aquino disclosed.

China also responded favorably to the proposal of the Philippines for a government-to-government purchase arrangement of cement. The trade official explains that this would involve ChinaEs "supply assurance" once MOFCOM finalizes the arrangements on volume allocation and specification requirements.

Besides coal and cement, the JTC discussions also focused on intensifying cooperation under the Brunei-Malaysia-Indonesia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), after MOFCOM confirmed that it will be sending a Chinese mission to Mindanao next month to explore possible collaborative projects. …