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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

8 projects get priority for China financing

Philippines and Chinese officials will focus on the first “basket” of infrastructure projects which initially prioritizes eight “cooperation” initiatives involving flagship projects of President Duterte, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

Dominguez, who led economic managers in a meeting with Chinese Commerce Ministry officials recently, said “additional progress” was achieved during bilateral dialogues on the first basket of projects that the Philippines has presented for Chinese financing.

Dominguez also told Chinese officials led by Commerce Minister Zhong Shang that the Philippine government was looking forward to the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Manila for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings next month as this “will further strengthen our bilateral relationship and capability to work together for mutual beneficial cooperation.”

“We recognize and appreciate the continuing engagement between our governments to speed up the preparations of the big-ticket infrastructure projects. Both governments are exerting efforts to streamline and expedite the approval process for the flagship projects,” Dominguez said at the meeting.

Also with Dominguez were two of his fellow economic managers—Secretaries Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Dominguez said the “substantial progress of the bilateral relations (between the two countries) is demonstrated in [their] joint pursuit of achieving a ‘favorable and enabling environment’ ” to ensure the “faster and timely” approval and completion of the projects.

In the meeting, Zhong concurred with Dominguez on “moving faster for the continuous progress for the ongoing projects” and cited the need to tap additional financing sources for these, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as well as the Silk Road Fund, a $40-billion financing platform owned by the Chinese government that aims to provide investment support under the framework of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

AIIB chairman Ji Qi describes the Silk Road Fund as a “commercial investment organization” in which investments “follows commercial principles and international rules.” LUIS LEONCIO

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