PH-China agreement to revive PH steel industry: envoy
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed a bilateral agreement with China during his state visit that is expected to revive the country’s steel industry with the setting up of a liquid steel plant.
“If we look over the 14 agreements, we can see some solid projects on the table. One example is the agreement between Baowu and SteelAsia,” said Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime FlorCruz in a press briefing on Saturday.
“We are expecting this to pour in 1.5 to 2 billion dollars of investment to set up the first liquid steel plant,” the envoy said.
FlorCruz noted the Philippines is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia which does not produce its own steel.
"So this plan will start our steel industry. Because if we don't have one, our manufacturing sector will always be reliant on imports," FlorCruz said, adding that the project is expected to produce from 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.
The 14 bilateral agreements inked during Marcos' January 3-5 China visit were on agriculture, infrastructure, development cooperation, maritime security and tourism, among others.
The ambassador pointed out that the bilateral deals are aligned with the goals and needs of the government.
“We can see these [agreements] are aligned to our needs. These are not just because China wants to sell but because we need these and we will benefit from these agreements,” the ambassador pointed out.
Aside from the bilateral deals, $ 22.8 billion in investment pledges were secured by President Marcos during his roundtable meetings with various Chinese companies, which include $1.72 billion for agribusiness, $13.76 billion for renewable energy (RE) and $7.32 billion for strategic monitoring (electric vehicle, mineral processing).
The Philippine envoy expressed hope that the deals secured by the Marcos administration would deliver tangible benefits and concrete projects.
“How can we ensure that these pledges will materialize? It is not easy because we need to make a follow through. The pledges, first of all, came from the higher-ups, so it's not only the Chinese companies that signed them. This time I can assume that the pledges and memorandums of understanding are sanctioned by higher officials,” FlorCruz said.
“This time I feel that these pledges, the MOUs, are given the go-signal by higher-ups that 'this time, we deliver, we deliver tangible benefits, tangible projects',” FlorCruz added. Presidential News Desk