A high-level Hong Kong-Shanghai joint investment mission visited the Philippines on last April 22-24 to explore cooperation and investment opportunities driven by the growing intra-regional cooperation in Asia, notably under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative promotes connectivity and economic cooperation among countries along the Belt and Road routes to further market integration in the region.
The delegation, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in association with the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce, consists of some 40 Hong Kong and Shanghai business leaders and services providers coming from a wide range of industries including consultancy, architecture, energy, waste and water treatment, engineering and construction, legal and accounting, transportation and other sectors.
During the three-day Manila visit, the delegation met with local government officials, agencies and business leaders to explore and discuss potential collaborations between Hong Kong, Shanghai and the Philippines on investment opportunities. The delegates also participated in project briefings and attended the “Hong Kong and Shanghai: Your Investment Partners” luncheon organised by the HKTDC on April 24.
Belt and Road facilitators: Hong Kong and Shanghai
At the luncheon, Hong Kongs unique advantages as a facilitator for infrastructure development and doing business with the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world were promoted. These advantages include the citys international network, rich talent pool, sound financial system, fair legal structure and efficient infrastructure.
HKTDC Chairman Vincent HS Lo said the Belt and Road Initiative is bringing real opportunities and benefits to the Philippines and around the region. Our economic, trade and cultural ties are closer than ever with the growing outreach and exchange, such as our mission. Offering a combination of capital, professional expertise and production capability from Hong Kong and Shanghai, we hope to collaborate with partners in the Philippines to turn investment opportunities into bankable ventures.
Speaking at the Hong Kong and Shanghai: Your Investment Partner luncheon, Co-Mission Leader Dr Jonathan Choi, Chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Sunwah Group, said: The delegation is impressed by the prospects of upcoming projects in the country. Apart from capital needs, we also see high demand for total solutions for infrastructure development. In our delegation there are representatives of a wide range of services providers, from architectural and engineering, construction, information technology, project management and operation to legal and risk managements. They are ready to contribute their expertise to the planned development projects.
Timely visit to develop closer ties
The visit of the delegation is timely as Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has made infrastructure development a top socio-economic development priority. Under his Build, Build, Build initiative, a list of mega infrastructure projects amounting to US$160 billion is in the pipeline. Infrastructure spending is ambitiously targeted to expand to 7 per cent by 2019. Infrastructure investment is expected to be a major economic driver over the next few years. The Belt and Road Initiative can provide the much-needed infrastructure financing to partner countries.
Close economic and trade links
The Philippines was the 19th largest export market for Hong Kong in 2017. Hong Kongs total exports to the Philippines rose 12 per cent year-on-year to US$3.6 billion. Over the same period, Hong Kong imports from the Philippines increased by 27.6 per cent year-on-year to US$9.8 billion. Major import items were semi-conductors, electronic valves and tubes (US$6.8 billion, 69.7%), computers (US$604 million, 6.2%), and telecom equipment and parts (US$458 million, 4.7%).