‘Concessions’ for China EV makers eyed


BEIJING—President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is considering the grant of “concessions” to Chinese firms engaged in mineral processing and electric vehicle (EV) production to boost foreign investment inflows into the Philippines.

In his press conference before his departure from Beijing last Thursday, Marcos said he is considering the measure to encourage investments in the country’s “infant industries.”

“So maybe that they are asking for some concession. So pinag-aaralan natin ‘yan [so we are now studying that] and — but it is very important to the Philippines for such industries to enter the country since these are part of the green economy that’s coming up. So we have to be part of it,” Marcos said.

“That is where the global economy is headed. So kailangan makapag-position tayo [so we need to position ourselves] and I think we’re heading in the right direction,” he added.

During his State Visit in China from January 3 to 5, Marcos was able to secure $22.8 billion worth of investment pledges.

These investment commitments include $1.72 billion for agribusiness, $13.76 billion for renewable energy, and $7.32 billion for strategic monitoring (electric vehicle, mineral processing).

In the agribusiness roundtable meeting during the visit, Marcos witnessed the signing of the protocol on market access for Philippine durian to China.

Also signed during the visit are investments in coconut and food processing; development of durian production; and processing and marketing, as well as alternative green technology for animal feeds and other agriculture related products; and sustainable supply of agriculture inputs, especially fertilizers.

Other signed agreements involve Chinese investments in renewable energy pursuits such as in solar and wind, as well as in related sectors including battery energy storage systems and off-grid power supply systems.

Marcos said he is focusing his initiatives on agriculture and energy since these are the major causes of inflation, which accelerated to 8 percent last November.

“It’s still agricultural products, 38 percent of the inflation—11 percent is fuel, 38 percent is agricultural products pa rin. Kaya’t kailangan talagang ayusin ‘yung production natin [so we really need to boost production],” he said.

E-commerce MOU

The Philippines and China inked an agreement that seeks to strengthen electronic commerce (e-commerce) cooperation between micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and e-commerce platforms, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual and Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on electronic commerce cooperation. The event, which was witnessed by President Marcos, was part of his three-day state visit.

According to the DTI, the MOU identified three areas of cooperation: promoting trade of high-quality featured products and services; pursuing business exchanges between MSMEs and e-commerce platforms, start-ups, and logistics service providers; and sharing of best practices and innovative experiences in utilizing e-commerce.

Pascual said Manila is pinning his hopes on the said agreement, noting that it will be “beneficial” in building the capacity of the country’s local businesses.

“This agreement will facilitate the sharing of experiences, best practices, critical information, and policies related to trade and e-commerce. We look forward to interventions that will promote consumer and merchant protection, intellectual property, data security, and privacy laws,” Pascual said. With a report from Andrea E. San Juan

Image credits: Office of the Press Secretary via AP