MAC/20: Mines and Communities

1-b Technical Aid Signed In China

Published by MAC on 2006-10-28
Source: The Philippine Star

$1-B technical aid signed in China

By Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

28th October 2006

XIAMEN (via PLDT/Smart) - President Arroyo witnessed here yesterday the signing of 10 agreements, including a $1-billion technical and financial assistance from China's Jinchuan Non-Ferrous Materials Corp. to Philnico Industrial Corp.'s Nonoc nickel project in Surigao del Norte.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the Philippines and China will sign two memoranda of understanding and a memorandum of agreement on the setting up of three ethanol fuel plants in the country, which will involve the development of thousands of hectares of land for sugar cane. Sugar cane is the principal ingredient in ethanol production.

Yap said BSBM Biofuels Corp. and the Southern Negros Development Corp. also signed an MOU with Philippine companies for the development of ethanol plants in Negros.

The development of an ethanol plant in Zamboanga del Norte is embodied in another MOA signed by Chinese-Filipino companies. "For BSBM they are studying to put up a 120,000 liter per day ethanol plant and the second one is for a 150,000 liter per day plant," Yap said.

He said 10,000 to 12,000 hectares of land may have to be developed for the projects.

Another MOA signed will involve the investment of $10 million for the exploration, development and utilization of 4,568 hectares of mineral property covered by a mineral production agreement among Adnama Resources Inc., Fulim Global Mining and Export Corp., and Fujihan Wahang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd.

The Philippines-China Business Council and the China-Philippines Business Council, Beijing chapter signed an MOU on trade and investment partnership program that would strengthen business-to-business alliances between the two countries with focus on tourism, infrastructure and mining.

Panay Railways Inc. and China Shenyang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Corp. also signed a partnership for the development and rehabilitation of the Panay railway system. Other MOAs Other agreements signed were:

. Establishment of a joint venture firm in the Philippines that will engage in the production and marketing of construction materials, between Century Properties Inc. and LEE World Group;

. Exploring opportunities for cooperation in the field of securities, trading and other investment banking services between First Metro Investment Corp., a subsidiary of Metrobank Group of Companies and Donghai Securities Company;

. The setting up of a joint venture company that will pursue real estate development in the Philippines and China. The agreement was signed by Haisheng Real Estate Co., Century Properties Inc. and Federalland Inc.;

. On increasing business facilitation between the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and All China Federation of Industry and Commerce and;

. Establishment of a Filipino-Chinese language institute for professionals and overseas Filipino workers who want to learn the Chinese language. The agreement was signed by FFCCI and Fujian Normal University.

Mrs. Arroyo attended a business luncheon immediately after landing here before 11 a.m. and asked the Chinese businessmen to "look at the Philippines as a destination for greater investment, particularly in the areas of mining, infrastructure, development, agriculture and fisheries, as well as housing."

"I encourage Chinese firms to plan relocation of the assembly of agricultural machinery to the Philippines. I also would like to invite Chinese fishing firms to participate actively in the Philippines-China fisheries cooperation activities under the bilateral MOU (memorandum of understanding) on fisheries cooperation," she said.

"The Philippines is the perfect regional partner to aid as a logistics partner and provider of high-value, high-skilled labor. We look forward to the day when China substantially raises the level of investments in the Philippines," Mrs. Arroyo said.

In another speech delivered before the Filipino community, the President described China's financing of the North Rail Project infrastructure as "crucial to the country's economic development plan."

Mrs. Arroyo noted that the government has enough money to match foreign investments in infrastructure because of the tax reforms now in place.

She said the country's revenues before were only enough to pay debts, the salaries of employees and shares of local governments.

"The ardent goal of my administration is to be able to lift the Philippines up and make it a strong republic for our children and grandchildren to inherit," she said.

"I long for the day when going abroad for a job is an option, not the only choice for a Filipino worker," Mrs. Arroyo said.

Mrs. Arroyo also cited the good relations between the Philippines and China, which she said would hopefully become stronger through the exchanges of visits.

As a new president in 2001, she said the country's electronics export hit a record low and which made her think, "ang malas naman (how unlucky)."

"The Philippine electronics industry gained access to a new market. As demand for electronics products slowed in the United States and US manufacturing firms outsourced to other countries other than Southeast Asia such as India, the Philippines found another huge customer with China," she said.

"The Philippine electronics firms were able to boost their export performance during difficult years. The top exports between China and the Philippines comprise semiconductor devices, machinery parts and accessories, electrical and electronic machinery, and electronic micro assemblies. Approximately one-third of total electronics exports are skewed towards the Chinese market," Mrs. Arroyo said.

According to Mrs. Arroyo, China is now the third biggest trading partner of the Philippines and bilateral trade between the Philippines and China amounted to almost $17 billion in 2005.

"Our nation's relationship with China is among the most important ties of our country. Philippine relations with China are now more confident, mature, and comprehensive, punctuated with substantial and important projects aimed at deepening exchanges in a number of areas, including economics, trade and investment, and even defense," she said.

"From 2001 to 2005, trade with China grew at an annual rate of 41.9 percent," Mrs. Arroyo said. - With Rainier Allan Ronda

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