THE government’s pivot to China provides the opportunity to participate in that country’s desire for a “peaceful rise,” as Beijing reverses centuries of decline and retakes its place in the world.

“I note that China is looking for new ways of leading the world,” Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Professor Frederico M. Macaranas said on Thursday during a China-Philippines conference at AIM.

“Critical… are the islands in the (South China Sea). It is the joint use of assets, not ownership of assets, that will matter for our relationships. Therefore, I believe that the peaceful rise of China will happen… As a leader of a global system, it cannot just be a nation. It must go beyond nation,” he added.

“But [what is] important for China [is] how will you share those resources… Can we afford to have a war over (resources)? No. The peaceful rise of China is therefore required.”

Mr. Macaranas added that such an approach will ensure a “boom” in Philippine-China trade.

Former Finance Secretary Roberto F. de Ocampo said that Asia should not depend on Western financial frameworks, and noted the need for universal and stable financial banking systems, modern infrastructure, and general security in the region to ensure ongoing and long-term economic growth in Asia.

Among the industries gearing up for expanded partnership with China are infrastructure, with spillover effects in utilities, telecommunications and logistics.

Other possible areas for investment are motor vehicles, mining, bioethanol, engineered products, business process outsourcing, housing and real estate development, tourism infrastructure, food processing, agribusiness and energy.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Director Anna Claire C. Cabochan of the Bureau of International Trade Relations said the DTI remains hopeful that the administration’s support for strong trade relations with China will ensure long-term growth not only in the Philippines but also in Asia.

The Philippine Statistics Authority, in a report released on Oct. 10, said China is the country’s top trading partner with a share of 15% or $11.36 billion of the Philippines’ total trade in the first eight months of 2017.

Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands president Jose Luis U. Yulo, Jr. also cautioned the Philippines against following Western economic models too closely.

“China joined the (World Trade Organization) in 2001. That is when they began (to transition into) a market economy… that was properly managed by the government. They did not follow exactly what the western world said, they did not (go with) free trade 100%, they did not follow capitalism 100%. They developed their own kind of capitalism, their own kind of free trade.”

Mr. Yulo also asserted the need for moderation when it comes to when it comes to investments, tourism and trade, saying foreign investment must be directed to where it will not create “tension” arising from fears foreigners will take over the economy.

“Every country wants its own citizens to control the economy. So, foreign investments should only enter areas of investment where citizens allow it or do not fear foreign takeover of the economy,” he added, citing the need for Filipino companies to be in control of areas like food. – Anna Gabriela A. Mogato