PH is 'good ship' facing 'high waves,' Dominguez says of US-China trade spat


Posted at Jul 01 2019 12:01 PM

MANILA -- The Philippines' domestic-driven economy will help it weather the fallout from the US-China trade war, the head of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team said Monday.

The trade spat is "affecting every country," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said. The Philippines' exports to China form part of products that Beijing sells to other countries. Interest rates could also increase to factor in risks from the dispute, he said.

Dominguez likened the Philippines to a sturdy vessel, navigating rough seas brought about by the dispute between Washington and Beijing.

"We are facing high waves, but we have a good ship. We have a good captain. We have good navigators and we have a very good and supportive legislature. I am sure we will come through this ahead of the rest," he said.

"We should be confident that our economy, we are not a big trading economy. Our growth is going to be dictated by how we spend domestically," he said.

Gross domestic product growth in the January to March period slowed due to a delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget. Economic managers have since accelerated spending for the expansion to meet targets.

Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez said the Philippines could take advantage of the dispute and attract foreign investors.

He said the latest foreign direct investments from China rose to $200 million from "less than $1 million per year" previously.

The Philippines is "diversifying" its trading partners, reaching out to Russia and Middle East countries, he said.