By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Philippine Trade and Industry undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio confirmed on Wednesday that Manila has been vigorously pursuing at least 15 Japanese companies with presence in China and with sister companies in the Philippines for potential relocation into the country.
Panlilio said in an interview these companies have been part of the 300 Japanese companies shortlisted by his department for possible relocation.
When asked when these companies could start relocating into the country, Panlilio said “We hope this year. Our commercial attachés are prioritizing these 15.”
“These 15 companies” refer to the ones engaged in film and camera manufacturing, electronics, transportation, among others, he said.
“The reason why they are in the shortlist is because they have sister companies already operating in the country. That makes it easier to convince them to relocate here,” he said.
These firms, he said, have been hurting from the increasing cost of doing business in China like higher cost of production and rising labor costs. And the recent anti-Japanese protests aggravated the situation after Japan’s “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands.
However, he added that “We don’t want to say we want to take advantage of the misery of others but we’re trying to be practical and help the Japanese.”
Philippines asked to pay Chinese loan to its rail project
Local media reported on Wednesday that the Philippine government has promised to pay back a US$500-million loan to China for a scrapped rail project in the next two years.
Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, in a news conference at the Palace, said China has asked the Philippines to immediately reimburse the loan for the North Rail contract.
In his recent visit to China as a special envoy of Philippine president Aquino, Roxas informed Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying about the government’s intention to pay off its debts and the cancellation of the North Rail contract with a Chinese contractor in a meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN expo in Nanning.
“What was supposed to be a multi-year long term loan was immediately called due and demandable by China. So we discussed how it will be paid. We have the resources and we will pay this,” Roxas said.
According to local media reports, the North Rail project was initiated by the Arroyo government in 2004. Last year, the Aquino government shelved the North Rail project to renegotiate the terms of the contract with the Chinese.
Roxas downplayed Beijing’s decision to ask Manila to pay off its loan immediately amid the territorial row in the South China Sea.
“The timing may be coincidental but we cannot really say,” he said.