Arroyo: Chinese investors should feel ‘welcome’ in PH
MANILA, Philippines — While the growing presence of Chinese mainlanders in the Philippines has alarmed some quarters, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants business leaders from China to feel “welcome without restriction” in opening shop here.
“And we hope that is the way your business plans will also end up. Welcome without restriction,” Arroyo told Chinese investors in her keynote speech on Tuesday, the second and final day of the first Boao Forum for Asia conference held in Manila.
“We want you to know the Philippine business climate … demonstrated, our business climate is very, very welcoming for your business plans,” she said.
The Philippines, according to Arroyo, needs to “exert maximum effort to remove on-the-ground bottlenecks that impede implementation of projects that involve trade and investment groups from China.”
The Speaker’s remarks were in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of forging close ties with China, now the country’s top trade partner.
But that relationship is being tested by tensions in the West Philippine Sea as well as anti-Chinese sentiment brought on by the increasing presence in the Philippines of Chinese tourists, workers and businessmen.
“They are everywhere — taking over our seas and lands and robbing Filipinos of work and livelihood,” Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said on Monday, reacting to reports about the increase of Chinese businesses on Boracay Island.
Arroyo said Chinese business leaders were keen to understand restrictions and regulations on the Philippine side in doing business here.
Ties better than ever
“Clearly, the economic and trade cooperation between our two countries is as good as it has ever been, better than it has ever been in fact. The main thing to focus on now is on the implementation side,” she said.
Arroyo, who cultivated warm ties with China during her nine-year presidency, said the Philippines should do more to improve regulatory bottlenecks for Chinese investors.
“What impresses me so much is the enthusiasm displayed by investors from China. They all came with their business plans and we in the Philippines want to match the enthusiasm in the implementation side,” she said.
Many Chinese business leaders, she said, were “concerned with the regulatory side.”
“The companies from China wanted to know more on the regulatory policies and as you can see the efforts of the Philippines to remove on the ground bottlenecks,” Arroyo said.