More than 600 Filipino and Chinese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have participated in a business matching session, banking on the promised of financial backing from Bank of China (BOC), the fourth largest bank in the world, for the promotion and expansion of their businesses.
At the Bank of China SME Cross-Border Trade and Investment Conference held at the Manila Hotel yesterday, BOC officials said they are looking to strengthen economic ties between the Philippines and China by acting as a bridge between Chinese and Filipino SMEs.
Deng Jun, BOC country head in the Philippines, said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the event that more than 320 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from China and 350 from the Philippines participated in the match-making process that took place as part of the conference.
“Our partnership with the Philippines aims to open opportunities for local businesses and bridge markets across the globe. By promoting trade, we hope to accelerate growth for both our countries,” said Deng.
“We hope they (these companies) can agree to sign agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment deals,” he added.
He said out of 300 meetings that took place as of yesterday afternoon, 77 percent have already reached agreements.
He also said that businesses in the food processing sector have the most number of matches, followed by those in the construction, agriculture, real estate, and tourism.
In his speech at the conference, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told Chinese government officials and businessmen that now is the best time to be in the Philippines because of the “economic breakout” it is experiencing.
He also mentioned that from the latest number, although they are still “reviewing” it, China may have already outranked countries like Japan, United States, and Hong Kong as the top trading partner of the Philippines.
Through this matchmaking process, BOC hopes SMEs from both countries to have better opportunities of expansion.
“We are not familiar with studies on SMEs market here but I know there is a difficulty for SMEs to get their financing from banks. And in my view, the role of Bank of China is to bridge the markets between the Philippines and China, and possibly abroad,” Deng said.
He said local SMEs may apply to them for possible matching with Chinese SMEs. Once they found a match, bridging follows as well as potential financing.
“These business matching initiatives show how the relationship of China and Philippines has broadened, now producing more tangible results. I can’t imagine this happening last year. This is a huge milestone. This indicates two countries are now open to renewing strong ties of friendship,” Lopez also pointed out.
BOC’s initiatives in the Philippines fall under the signed Strategic Cooperation Agreement with the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI), and the International Chamber of Commerce, Philippines (ICCP), as witnessed by President Duterte in Beijing on October 21, 2016.
The agreement comes together with BOC’s pledge to open a $3-billion credit facility to aid in the development of Philippine industries and infrastructure.
来源：Manila Bulletin By Madelaine B. Miraflor 2017-03-19