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China, Philippines set trade target at 60 bln USD by 2016

Source:   Time:

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (R) shakes hands with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III before attending a trade forum in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 31, 2011. Wang and Aquino, who is on a state visit to China, attended the Philippines-China economic and trade forum in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- China and the Philippines will work to double their trade volume to hit 60 billion U.S. dollars in five years, Vice Premier Wang Qishan said on Wednesday.

"China and the Philippines should tap their cooperation potential, expand trade volume, optimize the composition of imports and exports and make efforts to bring bilateral trade to 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2016," Wang said in his address to a China-Philippines economic and trade forum on Wednesday.

The forum coincided with Philippine President Benigno Aquino's first state visit to China since he took office last year.

China-Philippines trade amounted to 27.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, making China the third largest trade parter of the Philippines.

With the progress of the China-ASEAN free trade zone, which was established in 2010, as well as policy initiatives carried out in both countries, China and the Philippines are embracing new opportunities for cooperation, Wang said.

"I invite the Chinese community to take part in this opportunity to invest in an emerging economic force in Southeast Asia," Aquino told an audience of about 600 government leaders and business executives from the two countries.

Wang echoed Aquino's call, saying China will encourage strong businesses to invest in the Philippines and play a part in infrastructure construction.

Aquino said his administration is devoted to instilling a culture of transparency and integrity in government, pledging a level playing field for Chinese businesses.

He encouraged Chinese companies to seize opportunities to make strategic investments in the Philippines in areas such as tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

"The ties between the Philippines and China go back centuries and I am hoping that our continued partnership will become stronger than ever," Aquino added.

Wang said the Chinese government will work with the Philippine government to create a favorable environment for the business community.

Teresita Sy-Coson, chairperson of Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO), the biggest commercial bank of the Philippines, told the forum that the BDO is glad to assist Chinese companies with their financial requirements in the Philippines.

She introduced her country's huge business potential, citing the infrastructure, IT, agriculture, mining and energy sectors.

Aquino led the delegation of over 200 Philippine businessmen that joined him in Beijing.

"It has been the largest-ever trade delegation to travel with the president to foreign countries, which reveals not only the strong desire of the Philippine side for stronger trade cooperation with China, but also the broad prospects and huge potential of bilateral trade bonds," said Francis Chua, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country's main business group.

The two countries are expected to sign a series of cooperation agreements, including a five-year plan for trade cooperation, following official talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Aquino on Wednesday afternoon.

Aquino arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night for a five-day visit. Besides Beijing, he will also visit Shanghai and southeast China's Fujian Province.

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