Instead of focusing on the issues regarding the China-Philippines disputes on the Spratlys Islands and the Scarborough Shoal, President Benigno Aquino 3rd should focus on potential investments and trade deals that will be generated from the 10th China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Trade Expo (Caexpo) in September, said commerce chamber executives.
According to Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs sources, Aquino accepted China’s invitation to the Caexpo event from September 3 to 6 in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region.
Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc (Philexport), said that Aquino should emphasize and encourage potential Chinese and Asean investments in areas such as electronics, manufacturing, infrastructure, mining, services and agriculture.
The Philippines is this year’s “country of honor” of Caexpo in which China earlier requested for the attendance of a high-level delegation from the country.
Since the country is the highlight of the event, Ortiz-Luis said that this is “our best chance to be able to expand” in Chinese and Asean shores after all the problems and issues of the Chinese-Philippine standoffs.
The PCCI chairman also said that the Philippines should be able to gain confidence in the Chinese market because China is “growing very fast” and a “good market” having the United States and Europe sourcing most their imports from the country.
For his part, Jose Luis Yulo Jr., president of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippine Islands, expressed his laments on the local products, saying that the Philippines will still have to work its way to improve products for export, as well as to benefit more from the upcoming 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC).
“The crux for the Philippines to benefit from the free trade and economic integration is if we can manufacture competitive products that our Asean neighbors and China can buy from us,” Yulo said, referring to the country’s present status in export producing in line with the 2015 Asean integration.
“If we don’t produce anything of substance or value, then we cannot benefit, and will instead suffer the influx of cheap goods but we will not have the money to buy them. Worst, unemployment will rise,” Yulo added.
The 2015 AEC integration will allow free trade and more economic deals between Asean member-nations. Some expressed that the integration will serve as a disadvantage to the Philippines as Filipinos tend to prefer imported goods than local products, which will immediately affect as the economic integration promotes more free-trade transactions within Asean countries.