Many Chinese businessmen are willing to pour billions of dollars in investments in the Philippines aligned with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including the construction of $4.4-billion integrated steel complex in Mindanao and the P170-billion, 600-kilometer Manila to Matnog Long Haul South Railway, a group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen said Monday.
“We are expecting more Chinese companies and investors to explore investments and projects in the Philippines because Chinese businessmen prefer to put their money in countries participating in the BRI, like the Philippines,” Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. president Henry Lim Bon Liong said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Hotel forum.
Lim said during the Philippines-China Business Forum Pre-Program last month, he was tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to speak before the Chinese business to lure them to invest in the country, assuring them of the corruption-free investment program, peace, and order for businesses to thrive and improved ease of doing business.
“To ease business transactions, there is a proposed setting up of the Philippine-RMB Trading Community by the Bank of China-Manila branch and major Philippine banks for direct currency exchange. With this platform, businessmen can go to participating Philippine banks, exchange Chinese RMB to Philippine Peso, or Peso to RMB,” he said.
Lim said steelmakers from China, the HBIS Group Co. Ltd., were set to invest $4.4 billion to build an integrated steel complex in Mindanao and expected to create more than 10,000 jobs.
“Among the many infrastructure cooperation between the Philippines and China which is to take-off this year is the â‚±170-billion, 600-kilometer Manila to Matnog Long Haul South Railway. It is expected to be awarded to a contractor in the last quarter of 2019. The project will cut the travel time from Sucat to Naga from 14 hours to 3.4 to 4 hours when it is completed in 2022,” he said.
The FFCCII also observed that more Chinese have been visiting the Philippines, numbering over 1.2 million last year from 968,000 in 2017, second to Koreans.
He said the number was expected to go up to 1.5-million Chinese tourists this year.