China passed Japan to become the largest trading partner with the Philippines in the first quarter, a Chinese official said Wednesday during a conference of entrepreneurs from both countries.
China and the Philippines have achieved greater economic and trade cooperation since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited China in October 2016, said Jin Yuan, commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines.
Duterte also attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May.
From January to April, China's trade with the Philippines rose by 16 percent year-on-year to 103.4 billion yuan (.04 billion), customs data showed on May 8.
Jin also noted that agricultural exports from the Philippines to China, such as bananas and mangos, increased sharply in the first quarter.
He also disclosed that the value of projects contracted by Chinese companies in the Philippines has exceeded billion.
At the conference, enterprises from South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region signed several contracts with companies from the Philippines, including strategic cooperation agreements for a port and a hydropower project.
The Philippines' other major trading partners are the U.S., Singapore and South Korea.