China-ASEAN Monitor


Photo Credit: Reuters


Economy, Investment and Trade

Chinese steelmaker to invest in US$4.4 billion Philippine steel project
(17 December 2018) China’s second-largest steelmaker HBIS Group, private equity firm Huili Investment Fund, Philippine rebar producer Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp and Philippine state-owned Phividec Industrial Authority signed a memorandum of understanding to develop Philippines’ first integrated steel complex. The US$4.4 billion Philippine Iron and Steel Project is the biggest industrial investment from China in the Philippines to date. The two-phase project will be located in the Misamis Oriental province on Mindanao Island and is expected to create over 20,000 jobs and produce eight million tonnes of steel every year. The first phase of the project, which will cost US$3 billion, is expected to produce 4.5 million tonnes of hot-rolled coil and 600,000 tonnes of slab annually.
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Chinese port city to challenge Singapore marine hub’s top billing
(13 December 2018) Chinese port city Zhoushan plans to leverage on its proximity to Beijing and some of the world’s biggest ports in order to compete with Singapore for a larger share of the multi-billion dollar shipping fuel industry. Zhoushan — which sits 150 kilometres from the world’s biggest container port in Shanghai — is banking on its proximity to major ports and fuel producers in China to lure vessels to it, especially those heading to China, Japan and South Korea. Further, the half dozen fuel producers setting up shop near the port could also attract oil and gas tankers, dry-bulk carriers from Australia and container ships heading to the US west coast. According to Sinopec Corp, Zhoushan is on track to meet its targeted bunkering volumes of 30 million tonnes a year by 2030.
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China-Malaysia bilateral trade expected to grow
(15 December 2018) China was the largest contributor of foreign direct investment (FDI) for Malaysia in the past two years and this trend is expected to continue in 2019, according to Malaysia’s special envoy to China Tan Kok Wai. According to the special envoy, Malaysia received FDI amounting to US$11.7 billion in the first three quarters of 2018, of which US$3.7 billion came from China. This includes Chinese investments such as Alibaba’s involvement in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and China’s largest commercial vehicle brand Foton which has launched its new 3S (sales, service and spare parts) Centre in Malaysia. China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years since 2009.
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Chinese foreign minister lauds Lancang-Mekong cooperation
(17 December 2018) Cooperation between the six member countries under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) not only helps to strengthen China-ASEAN cooperation but also brings the countries closer together, according to Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi. The foreign minister, who was addressing the 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Laos, lauded the LMC’s joint efforts in deepening partnership and upholding its plans to develop a Lancang-Mekong sub-regional economic development zone. The LMC has identified six priority areas for future cooperation, i.e. developing the LMC Economic Development Belt, cooperating to increase production capacity, enhancing innovation cooperation, prioritizing the improvement of citizens’ livelihood, intensifying environmental protection, and upholding openness and inclusiveness.
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China and Thailand pledge to deepen cooperation
(16 December 2018) China and Thailand reaffirmed their commitment to deepen bilateral cooperation at a meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers held on the sidelines of the 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Laos. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi pledged to support Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship, expedite construction of the China-Thailand railway in a bid to achieve early connection of the China-Laos-Thailand railway, and deepen cooperation between the two countries. Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said Thailand will work with China to maintain high-level exchanges, deepen trade and economic cooperation, and explore more third-party cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Both sides also reiterated their commitment to advancing ASEAN-China relations, as well as negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and South China Sea Code of Conduct (COC).
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