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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the Philippines is expected to take in over $10 billion worth of investment and trade agreements to be generated by the Philippine delegation’s visit to Beijing on April 25 for the Belt and Road Initiative Forum.

“In line with the participation of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on 25 April 2019, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez revealed that the Philippines will also be signing over $10 billion worth of investment and trade deals, which translates to around 20,000 jobs,” the DTI said Monday in a statement.

The delegation is expected to sign more than 15 agreements, which cover trade and investment deals in the food, energy, power, infrastructure, technology and services industries.

In a mobile message to reporters, Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that estimate includes deals already vetted and under negotiation.

“Most are vetted already. But we are putting out estimates of the total as more agreements may be added,” Mr. Lopez said.

In a speech on Monday, at the start of the two-day Boao Forum for Asia Manila Conference, as delivered by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the country will build on the gains it has made since the Belt and Road Forum held two years ago.

He said that Chinese investments are ”in recognition of the growing confidence in the Philippine economy… since the first Belt and Road Forum two years ago.”

Approved Chinese investment surged to $51 billion in 2018 from $2 billion in 2017.

Mr. Duterte also cited aid provided by China, noting over $62 million in official development assistance (ODA) received last year.

“The Philippine tourism industry has also flourished in the past year, with Chinese tourist arrivals contributing greatly to this growth,” Mr. Duterte added.

China is currently the Philippines’ second largest tourist market with 1.26 million arrivals in 2018, up 30%.

“The progress that we have achieved in the past year shows great promise not only for the Philippines but for the entire region as well. Since the initiatory Belt and Road Forum in 2017, we have seen how a more balanced Asian-centered international cooperation can create better opportunities for our regional community,” Mr. Duterte added. — Janina C. Lim