Photo Credit: GCash
Economy, Investment and Trade
The Philippines aims for a cashless society using Chinese technology
(21 May 2018) Partnering with Alibaba Group’s affiliate Ant Financials, Filipino company Mynt has introduced a new technology solution called GCash QR code that allows a smoother flow of money through mobile payments to reduce cash as the mainstream payment. GCash QR code aims to help 90 percent of Filipinos who do not have a bank account and formal credit due to lack of access to financial services and internet connectivity. According to Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, high mobile phone penetration is the main reason why the Phillippines should aim for a cashless society which is safer, more convenient, cheaper, faster and there would not be any elements of corruption. About 7 million Globe Telecom smartphones are equipped with GCash and it can be used in 16,000 payment platforms. However, it pales in comparison with the 670 million consumers of Ant Financial’s Alipay and 600 million of Tencent’s WeChat Pay in China.
Two Chinese firms involved in Marawi rehabilitation were once banned by World Bank
(14 May 2018) China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) were once blacklisted by the World Bank for allegedly colluding with companies in the Philippines to contrive the tender process of road projects partly financed by the World Bank in 2009. Both firms were banned for a period of five to six years from taking part in projects funded by the international financing institution. Now CSEC and CGC are part of the nine companies selected by the Philippines government to restore Marawi which was affected by the 2017 siege. The project encompasses 250 hectares of Marawi and the winning consortium will construct recreational sites, underground utilities, roads, wastewater treatment facility, conventional hall and other amenities to ease the livelihood of the people in Marawi.
The United States imposes expensive duties on Vietnam’s steel products coming from China
(22 May 2018) Steel products from Vietnam have been imposed with heavy import duties by the United States Commerce Department because the products originate from China and they are being imported from Vietnam to the United States, in an attempt to avoid Anti-Dumping and Anti-Subsidy orders. Although U.S. steelmakers won duties against Chinese steel in 2015 and 2016, they believe that Chinese steels are being channelled through other countries to avoid duties in the United States. Statistics show that cold-rolled steel imported from Vietnam rose sharply to US$215 million per year from US$9 million whereas corrosion-resistant steel imports notched up to US$80 million from US$2 million in 2015. According to United States Commerce Department, 199.76% of anti-dumping duties and 256.44% of anti-subsidy duties will be imposed on all imported steel products that consist of Chinese-origin substrate from Vietnam.
The Philippines avoids conflict with China over Chinese bombers
(21 May 2018) The appearance of China’s strategic bombers in the South China Sea last week raised concerns for The Philippines as the country’s Foreign Ministry took “appropriate diplomatic action” to address the matter. The H-6K plane landed and left the island and reefs in the South China Sea and it is the first time the bomber has appeared in the disputed area. China air force stated that it was a training exercise but that move prompted the United States to deploy their ships into the area. However, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte said the country is unable to deal with China’s militarisation. Although China claims ownership of most South China Sea but other nations like Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims over the sea. There are seven artificial islands constructed by China in the Spratlys Group in South China Sea that were turned into military outposts consisting of airfields, radars, and missile defences.