Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said on Tuesday that his country will benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative, noting it dovetails with the infrastructure buildup plan of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dominguez said the initiative, particularly the revival of the maritime silk road, will help improve the Philippines' competitiveness in the global trade arena.
With the airports and seaports as part of Duterte's envisioned "Golden Age of Infrastructure," he said the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road component of the initiative will open new markets for the Philippine products in Beijing's planned corridor between China and the Middle East and Europe.
Dominguez said the initiative is a "powerful idea," adding that it will promote free trade and integrate economies across Asia and Europe.
"We think that the Philippines will definitely benefit in participating in this Belt and Road project particularly in the maritime Silk Road section of the project," Dominguez said in a statement.
He added "the Philippines is building a lot of infrastructures, of course with the help of China, and among the infrastructure that we are building are ports and airports. That will help lower the cost of shipping our goods to (China's) Hong Kong or to (China's) Shanghai and that will open markets to us along the corridor between China and the Middle (East) and Europe."
He said the Philippines' manufacturing industry, particularly companies producing electronics, and its food exports sector, especially those selling tropical fruits, will have more and quicker access to new and profitable markets under the Belt and Road project.
"We are the largest exporters of tropical fruits (in Asia) so definitely there will be a lot of benefit to us if we are able to open markets in let's say Kazakhstan (and other countries), along the Belt and Road area. And that's aside from our manufactured goods," Dominguez said.
The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013 consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.