COMMENTARY

China-Philippine trade up, broad prospect of cooperation

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In the past year of 2015, China’s foreign trade’s rarely-seen contraction in both export and import caused wide attention. International economic headwind, sluggish global demand and the dip in prices of bulk commodities were main reasons for the contraction. However, the 8% decline of China’s foreign trade was far below the range of fall suffered by its major trading partners and the overall international trade. Instead, China’s market share in global trade increased by 1% to above 13%. It was the third consecutive year that China’s export volume and total trade volume remained No. 1 in the world. In this regard, we can doubtlessly say that China’s foreign trade had made hard-won achievement in 2015, and has been upgraded to a new normal of “better quality and more efficiency” and “quality imports and quality exports.”

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Last year, ASEAN became the third biggest trading partner of China, next to EU and the US. According to Chinese statistics, the bilateral trade volume between China and the Philippines, an important member of Asean, hit a new high and reached US$ 45.65 billion, registering a growth rate of 2.7%.

In the context of the facts that China-Asia trade fell 7.8% and China-Asean trade fell 1.7%, the China-Philippine trade went against the trend and scored uneasy goals. The Philippines was one of the only 4 countries in Asean that had retained a positive growth with China.

In accordance with Philippine statistics, China was the No. 2 trading partner, No.1 import source and No.3 export market of the Philippines in 2015. In terms of trade structure, import from China (mainly electronics, transportation, communication and machinery equipment, and food) constituted 17% of the total import of the Philippines; while export to China (mainly electronics, mineral products, agricultural products, and wood products) constituted 10.9% of the total export. From this we see between the two countries strong complementarities in intra-industry and inter-industry trade. We also see big room for diversifying trade structure and promoting trade and investment.

In 2016, the weak recovery of global economy is likely to continue.

Insufficient demand from developed economies, economic downturn pressure in emerging markets, volatility in global financial market, and low bulk commodities price would hinder the recovery of the global trade. For preventing risks caused by the above-mentioned facts, China and the Philippine, both as developing countries, should further exploit the potential of economic growth, promote trade and investment, and |transform the geographic advantage and complementarity advantage into boost of growth. Between China and the Philippines, there will always be more hope than obstacles, more consensus than differences. Constantly |promoting China-Philippine trade and investment conforms to thefundamental interest of both countries, and will contribute to the improvement of our people’s wellbeing and regional peace and stability.

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