China is set to sign an agreement to buy $1 billion worth of agricultural crops from the Philippines starting this year, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday.
Lopez said the agreement would be signed mid-March in time for the state visit of China Vice Premier Wang Yang.
“I believe they are interested to buy most of our agricultural products. It might as well be the entire tariff line,” Lopez said, adding that the agreement was a part of the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation signed by the two countries in Manila Tuesday.
China expressed interest to import durian, avocado, banana, pineapple, coconut, mango, dragon fruit, mangosteen, marang, cacao, rice and coffee.
It is also keen on buying Philippine poultry such as duck and chicken as well as fishery products.
Ministry of Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said the Chinese government would donate $1 million for the rehabilitation of earthquake-stricken Surigao.
China also committed to provide the Philippine government $3.4-billion credit facility to finance major infrastructure projects critical to push economic growth.
Meanwhile, the Trade Department opened Wednesday the first of the three-day Asean Economic Ministers Meeting in Pasay City.
Lopez said the Trade Department, as the lead agency for this year’s meeting, would promote one of the current thematic priorities of the bloc on “inclusive, innovation-led growth” for shared prosperity. The other two pillars touch on politico-security and socio-cultural.
The secretariat identified increasing trade and investment, integrating the micro, small and medium enterprises in the global value chain and developing an innovation-driven economy as among the priorities of the summit.
“Our strategic measures are consistent with our current agenda to promote employment and entrepreneurship. The AEM is an excellent platform to push for the country’s core thrusts on trade and investment, MSME development and innovation,” said Lopez.