DTI chief: Duterte diplomatic trips boost PH trade growth

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 29) — A year since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, one of his Cabinet members says foreign investments have grown, thanks to Duterte's efforts.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told CNN Philippines' Town Hall on Wednesday that the President's diplomatic trips to other nations was beneficial to the country.

"I think we really see the benefit of the current policy ng ating Presidente na being friends to all, opening up more doors, more windows, pagdating dito sa pakikipagkaibigan sa iba't ibang bansa, especially yung mga bansa...we have cold relationships with, particularly China, Russia," Lopez said.

[Translation: I think we really see the benefit of the current policy of our President of being friends to all, opening up more doors, more windows, when it comes to friendships with other countries, especially those we have cold relationships with, particularly China and Russia.]

Lopez said the country's growing relationship with China, Russia, and Japan sprung from the brother-like ties formed among the nations' leaders.

"Yung Japan, malakas ang relationship natin, lalo pang napalakas nung bumisita rin ang Presidente at naging close friends, sabi nila more than friends, like brothers, ganun din yung pakikipag-kapatiran ng ating pangulo with President Xi Jin Ping of China, at ganun din sa Russia," he said.

[Translation: Our relationship with Japan was strengthened when the President visited there. He was like brothers with the leader, as well as President Xi Jin Ping of China and [President Vladimir Putin] of Russia.]

The Trade and Industry secretary then said this relationship led to investments and Official Development Assistance (ODA).

"Kapalit nito (in exchange), yung investment na cinommit, ODAs na 9 billion from China, 9 billion dollars din from Japan, mga private business-to-business dealings, maluwag yung palitan ng (free exchange of) information, exploration ng mga projects, sa business to business, marami ring nagpapasukan at nagpipirmahan (many are coming in to do business," Lopez said.

He added the trade deficit in agriculture products with China has also been improving, with the Chinese extending help in the sector.

"These investment commitments are not just commitments, kasi nakikita naming nare-realize siya ngayon (because we see them being realized)...Things like these are happening because of these trips that are happening also," Lopez said.