The Philippines highlighted the country’s growing strengths in select sectors, particularly services, relevant to the Chinese at the ongoing 2021 edition of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS).


The Philippine digital showcase at China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) 2021 comprise a country pavilion and a forum on creative, information technology (IT) and IT-related Philippine services. The fair opened on Wednesday, September 8, until September 10, 2021 at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center in Xiamen, China.

CIFIT is China’s only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating bilateral investment and the largest global investment event approved by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. With the theme “Introducing FDI” and “Going Global, ”CIFIT 2021 focuses on domestic and international opportunities for trade and investment promotion and cooperation.

The Philippine digital booth at CIFTIS features the country’s capabilities in film, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), software development, animation, game development, healthcare information, and the global shared services and contact center sectors. Meanwhile, the Philippine Services Forum will highlight investment opportunities for Chinese enterprises and consumers in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

The Philippine participation at CIFTIS is a strategic push by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to introduce a broader portfolio of partnership opportunities between the two countries.

The onsite Philippine delegation to CIFIT 2021 is led by Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana and China-based officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Tourism. They will be supported by an online delegation in Manila headlined by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo.

This year, the Philippine participation in CIFIT 2021 is anchored on the Make It Happen in the Philippines investment promotion campaign and focuses on eight key sectors: Manufacturing; IT-BPM; Hyperscalers; Innovation and Digital Technologies; Agri-business; Real Estate Development; Renewable Energy; and, Infrastructure. The campaign is based on the Make It Happen attitude of the hardworking and adaptive Filipino workforce that makes the country an attractive investment destination.

“China is now the most important economic partner of the Philippines. In 2020, China ranked as the PH’s number 1 trading partner (out of 224). Total Bilateral Trade amounted to about RMB 271 Billion,” said Senior Trade Representative JP Iñigo of DTI Guangzhou. “In terms of investments, China ranks 2nd or about RMB 2.048 Billion…Unfortunately, Chinese Investment still remain very small considering from 2005 to 2019, Chinese companies invested RMB 39 trillion 961 billion in North America and Europe, amounting to just over half (50.9 percent) of all Chinese FDI outflows during this period. Thus, we hope that China will invest more in the Philippines in the coming years.”

The ten exhibitors in CIFIT 2021 include Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (ZCSEZA); Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA); Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA); Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA); Clark Development Corporation (CDC); Mt. Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (MSFTEZ); and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

In addition to exhibitors from the public and private sectors, the Philippines will be conducting a series of fora during CIFIT 2021 to explore a broader range of partnership opportunities with China. The Philippine Investment Forum will be held on September 08 to discuss general investment policy and investment opportunities in agriculture, tourism, technology, hyperscalers, and renewable energy. A second online forum organized by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and 86 Links will take place on September 09 to focus on industrial parks and centers. Lastly, a third offline-online forum will be held on September 09 to explore construction and infrastructure opportunities in the Philippines that may be of interest to Chinese investors.

“If you choose to invest in the Philippines, you will be amongst friends and relatives, that your Investments are safe, your Businesses will thrive and there will be lots of Investment opportunities where you can earn profits. For those who have come to the Philippines, you know this to be true,” STR Iñigo said to an audience of Chinese businessmen and policymakers.

The Philippines is working with its strategic partner, Bank of China, in bringing awareness about the investment and trade projects in the Philippines to the Chinese market. Bank of China has a full commercial banking license in the Philippines and has been in operations in the country since 2002. The Manila Branch’s mission is to be the bridge between Chinese and Philippine trade and investments through corporate banking, personal banking, and financial markets services while facilitating Chinese investments in key sectors of the fast-growing Philippine economy.

As China zeroes in on improving the quality of life of its population by way of high-quality services and an internationalization of the country’s enterprises, the Philippines brings with it competitive advantages in the services sector. The Philippines is the second most English-proficient country in Asia, with a 98 percent literacy rate. The country also has a diverse and robust pool of close to 800,000 higher-education graduates and a workforce with fluencies in Mandarin, Spanish, and Korean, among others.

The promotional activity is organized by DTI Beijing, with support from the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Export Management Bureau (EMB), and the Board of Investments (BOI), alongside the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) as partners for the endeavor.

Source: Manila Bulletin (