Government News Analysis The Volatilian™ View Trade

Calming the waters for a flood of trade

Philippines-Russia and Philippines-China Trade Relations

The notion that Philippine trade with China and Russia on the one hand and the United States on the other should be mutually exclusive is only coming from one side – those who oppose President Rodrigo Duterte. There has never been any such suggestion by anyone in the current administration. This stands in stark contrast to the previous government led by Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino who favoured severing all ties with China and who made little attempt to gain new markets in the Russian Federation. During his term, trade with the US in the context of these three was near enough absolute.

The fact is – and not even the anti-Duterte media, nor diehard anti-Chinese elements in the Philippines can distort this – China is the second largest economy in the world; by 2021 it could be in the No.1 slot. For a government, and particularly one living right next door, to ignore that and not exploit it, would amount to a reckless mismanagement of the economy. The Philippines, like every other member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) needs China trade and Chinese investment. Like them also, it needs good relations with China. No government in Asean is oblivious to that.

In this context alone, the jingoism promoted by Aquino over the disputed Scarborough Shoal, an outcrop of ugly rocks in the South China Sea, must be one of the poorest pieces of statecraft ever conceived. And how, precisely did it help the Filipino people? It didn’t. Aside from winning a favourable ruling in a European arbitration court – a ruling that could never be enforced – it didn’t get them one nautical inch closer to resolving this issue. The only gainers, it seems, were the people who sold the T-shirts emblazoned with “China Out!” and the sellers of Chinese flags to be set fire to at the next carnival of hate.

And, of course, Aquino also had his moment in the limelight. He was presented as the leader of a small nation heroically taking on a giant one; it was David and Goliath; his single righteous sling shot would bring a bully to his knees – roll of drums, trumpets, Hollywood ending.

The rhetoric and the emotional outbursts from Aquino were designed to inflame his people; to rouse them to new heights of China-hating and China-baiting. Large demonstrations were encouraged; to humiliate the Mainland and her people. And it worked. It exploited the worst traits of anti-Chinese sentiment in the country – and that is still lingering. If it wasn’t racist in its original intent, its manifestation on social media, in particular, certainly took that form. And as all this went down, the US Government – eager to strengthen its own claims to a legitimate presence right in China’s backyard – silently applauded their perceived marionette in Manila.

Don’t get us wrong, The Volatilian™ has a lot of admiration for the things which Aquino achieved during his term in office – the reforms he sparked, the kick-starting of the economy and its subsequent growth, the crackdown on public corruption among them. But his handling of China – and not just over the South China Sea standoff, but right back to the dawn of that term with his chaotic handling of the hostage crisis in Manila which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead – was by any standards deficient to put it mildly. And his insensitive management in the aftermath of that tragedy remains a bitter memory for many in Hong Kong to this day.

Aquino’s play with respect to Scarborough Shoal was fully supported by the US. In fact, seizing the moment, US President Barack Obama, managed to get Aquino to provide access for his warships and Philippine ground bases for his troops for the next decade. His angle was, they would provide the muscle to cower China. And with that, Aquino dug a deeper hole; one that Duterte is now trying to fill in.

Washington played Aquino like a violin. And while he was still in the presidential palace of Malacañang, it could steer Philippine foreign policy like a remote-controlled toy car. Military planners in the US refer to the Philippines as “their fourth aircraft carrier in the Pacific”. How’s that for presumptuousness?

Duterte knows that this chapter of bitter confrontation with the Philippines’ biggest neighbour – a country with which it has strong and enduring cultural ties – needs to be closed so that the Filipino people can enjoy the benefits of a trade and investment partnership which, handled properly, could considerably boost the economic development of the archipelago.

Significantly, too, the Philippines stands at the start line of the Maritime Silk Road, part of a huge commerce initiative that will connect China to Eurasia – serendipity that should be embraced not scorned, however disadvantageous that may look to Washington; however much it weakens the Liberal Party’s own “initiative” to shun China. And what’s that anyway, economic suicide by spite?

The welfare of the Filipino people must come above partisan politics and certainly above the policy preferences of a former landlord. The hard fact is that China can succeed in Southeast Asia without the Philippines – there are nine other countries in Asean ready to take up the slack. But that is not what China wants and it’s certainly not Duterte’s wish. And meanwhile, too, China remains America’s biggest trading partner.

We wait to see what the president and the 400-strong Filipino trade delegation accompanying him bring back from China; but one thing we do expect is that the recklessness of the recent past has been well and truly resolved. The time for destroying is over; now is the time to build.

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    • nya ha ha ha ka rin maayos bah ni boc engeng kung yan lang talaga ang quality ng produkto nila at baka mas lalo pang dadami ang source ng illegal drugs sa bansa. wag kang puro dakdak talamak pa rin ang droga sa bansa. wala naresolbahan kahit isa.

    • matagl na ang trade na yan pero walang tax dahil walng kasunduan ang china at pilipinas sa trade industry..mas malaki pa ang ipinasok ng china kesa america..kaso lang,walang tax na napupunta sa tin dahil smuggked para naman kumita ang bnasa,makipag ayos ang pilipinas sa kanila,pra magkaroon ng formal trading ng sa ganun,magkaroon tau ng tax at makaktulong ito sa elonomiya..kya sa PUSAO PRIME,i hope tigilan mo na magdunungdunungan..with reagrds drugs,kya cla nakakpuslit dto dahil nga wala taung maayos na kasunduan at di alam ng china government ang drugs industry..wala kang alm sa pamumuno,cguro para makatulong ka khit papanu sa bansa,manahimik ka nalang,pwede?!!

    • kasi mr. prime, wala tayong quality control agency. puros reject at class d and e nakakapasok sa pinas. punta ka ng US at tingnan mo doon puros made in china.quality grade A. kaya rin class d n e nakakapasok sa pinas ksi di natin afford ang mga magandang quality. even products ng ibang countries na pumapasok sa pinas ay mga reject.

    • you better travel to different countries and you will see. kahit sa japan nga may made in CHINa…products… better quality lng nga. open your mind and stop saying that. kasi sa totoo lng made in US na tshirt ay low quality.

    • Tama. Masama ang loob ko when I learned na yung nabili kong medyas at stockings sa Korea ay made in China pala. But then sinoot ko uuuy matitibay. Kawawa pala tayo. Yung mga good for one day only ang nasa atin. Ganon tayo ka poor.

    • Jing-jing de Castro mam sa totoo lang po marami yyng original na made in china diti saatin.. barat lang kasi ang pinoy na kahit na alam na peke yun parin ang bibilihin tapos nagrereklamo sa quality =)

    • this guy doesn’t know what business does is for the country and its people. i bet he has only a carenderia and a sari-sari store that caters only to the barangay. wake up man, this a global community and in order to survive, we need the help of our neighbors. what a crab!

  • partnering w/: China…. most populous (1.5B), most Greedy-sly & double talking-Cheat?….. Russia….another war-freak, gun-supplier, manipulator? pdig dancing changing-partners like a prostitute? or promoting pinoy as one?…..akala ko independent foreign-policy tayo..e bakit may bagong amo? ano ba yan? ang gulo!

    • by the way how i assess your comment, it seems that you don’t know anything about international diplomacy and commercial transactions. pathetic! living in bondage for centuries and all Filipinos want a CHANGE in their lives and here we are, another Filipino who has grown-up in US AID ASSISTance that made him think ONLY THE US IS GOOD FOR THE FILIPINOS! cut that crap and STUDY AND LEARN MORE!

  • that is also one reason why america keep on pounding china thru back channels or its allies like phil to go hard against china to destroy its reputation in the world scene.but america itself cannot bully china or direct china to do what they want china should do.america is worried to be overthrown from its top rank as world i clearly recall what pres duterte said,don’t believe too much in is because what america is really after is its own interest..

    • Why do people who have never traveled to China or worked in China or looked at what China makes and sells to the rest of the World especially USA, continue to say China will fail. Did you not see, that China has just sent another two astronauts to its Space Station. With its own rockets and technology. USA NASA has to buy its Rockets from Space Ex and it just blew up on launch pad and it was supposed to be running supplies the International space station. The Russians take them up and bring them back.

  • Kasi nung panahon ni pnoy na panot may go signal ang gobyeno na magpasok ng droga sa lahat ng pantalan at airport sa buong pilipinas pero kita natin ngayon nahuhuli na mga droga sa mga paliparan at seaport kasi napaliyan na yung mga magnnakaw na alagad ng mga LP nuon meron nahhuli pero dtama lng yung mga baryabarya lng.

  • I support Duterte 100% but beg to differ with your opinion in many things;1) China isn’t the leader of the automobile and computer industries, Japan is, 2) China is a qiantitative producer of inferior quality goods, 3) China is not the # 1 or even #2 biggest tourist in the Philippines, that place belongs to South Korea as #1 and Americans as #2 and tourism provides an great evonomic boost to any country, 4) In the money exchange market, China’s currency exchange is practically worthless to make them #2 in the global economy, the strongest currency corresponds to the Euro, the US dollar and the Franc, 5) 2012 during typhoon Yolanda, China was not the #1 donor of money and goods for relief to the Filipino people, US was #2 okay, 6) China is the #2 global leader in population of the Earth, so it has to spend more to tend to the need of over 1,2 billion people to make it a global economic leader, that role will go to a smaller nation.
    Finally, I advise Filipino leaders to seriously sleep on and reconsider entering a mutual military defense treaty with China, because if you think the dispute over the West China Sea will be resolved between China and the Philippines, then you need to think again when they begin making more claims on Islands that an international tribunal declared belong to the Philippines. Who will stop China from making making such claims not just in the Philippines but other Asean nations who would not like the idea very much of the Philippines being an ally to China. In fact such a relation may benefit China economically but not the Philippines, because it is not fighting over water but highly valuable resources on those Philippines Islands that can give the Philippines the economic advantage it needs and China will just steal from you. That is not a fighting spirit but a quitters spirit to just turn around and say we are now friends take what is ours. Don’t forget that as defense allies you will have chineese ships all over the Philippines coast line and that they are the #1 global leader in trafficking illicit drugs they grow there, so that will not help the war on drugs here, it would just facilitate chiineese national to smuggle more drugs in here.

  • You’re only saying that because you are pro-Duterte, how about talking the other side of the coin like China being the biggest communist block in this part of the world, the nine dash line that they’re imposing without legal basis according to the tribunal in the Hague that consequently in bullying our navies and our local fishermans. Are those thing insignificant as to the direction this Nation is heading, The Vola-tilian?

  • Wake up guys! If you want to do business you must look at the buying power and potential of your customer. China is a huge market and you are a fool if you shun this potential market. On the political side, such communist nonsense is just in paper, it’s just their government’s way of maintaining control of their politics. China’s rough attitude towards us was brought by our equally brusque attitude towards them. Imagine your neighbor ignoring or worse treating you badly and think of how will you react. Stop acting like little brown Americans and act like a true Filipino. Think of our interest first because the US will never give a shit about our interest and will forever be after their own interest only. FRIENDS OF ALL, ENEMY TO NO ONE!

  • Expect that our market will be flooded by fake products made from China. From signature items like Hermes, Loise Vuitton , Gucci , Prada to gadgets, electronics and food products. They are homes of fake products equivalent to 70% of their exports including fake friendships and loyalties. I hope Digong could not be swayed by their warm accomodations and sugar coated promises in the name of better commerce and trade.

  • obviously the president has the ability of perception he can predict the future .base on that the old man mrasures his every move for good for all of us. what hes doing if you try to see the big picture by using your imagination he is weighing which of this are more heavier that the country can benifit from it in analysis the president are using equation china +russia/USA=PHILIPPINES ofcourse mathemathically it could be like that that Du30 plan ever since

  • So many so called wise Filipino people are so apprehensive of what is going on with this China relationship. My question is, do you all know what is in the mind of our President? What was his statement? He loves the Philippines and he is willing to give it all even his life so Filipinos can have better lives and be at peace. This time of his tenure has just began and it seems that many want it to end too soon. If we consider ourselves to be wise and knowledgeable of many things as I have read the comments, why not put your own selves in his shoes? What can be done are comments that actually cannot help at all. Better yet, let us all be a part of this journey, to encourage and be hopeful that we will reach the goal of becoming one of the true Tigers among the Asean Nations. Further, we need to trust God more that change can happen and people can be really cooperative to this endeavor. Afterall, we still live in this Country that we can be proud of to be peaceful, economically vibrant and harmonious.


  • China has been our trading partner ever since the Spaniards came to ours …remember our national hero Dr.Jose Rizal (Mercado was b4 Lima Ong) but sad to say Chinese produced are very much inferior in reality as compare to Eu,US,Jap,S.Korea ….soon we will be totally infested with INFERIOR PRODUCYS…its not that i’m proAnyOne…can any body out there tell me what Chinese Ally as rich as S.Korea, Taiwan, Japs Singapore .. During Marcos time we were the Pearl of the Orient what happened afterwards?….corruption everywhere…. Agro-Idustrialization was abandoned …. Singapore leader took Marcos principle…Thailand & Vietnam now Burma , Asean had adopted rice reform (I.R.R.I. brainchild of Macos Rice Reform …thanks to him for having todays rice abundance…n he is not a hero) ….Democracy or Communist ….still the same if we continue to bribe our corrupt leaders….3rd world till d end….hoping changes are for a better PI

  • Haha wala na kau magawa may dugong intsik yn si digong..
    Ang drugs galing tsina kaya sunod lang tau binoto naten si digong eh armad nila kahit mahina pwede na panlaban sa mga insikto hehehe…

    • But many Americans acknowledge the preditory nature of Chinese International trade. China regularly sells products at a financial loss to put other companies out of business. Just because Americans have become addicted to cheap Chinese products, does not make it a good decision.

  • US Philippine relation is only beneficial to the yellow ribbons society. The yellow cult don’t care about Mindanao, Samar and Leyte. The US tolerance for that inequality for 70 years proved that US democracy is an oligarchy and also implanted in the Philippines.

    • Whatever your misconceptions about the US, China is far worse. They don’t even belieave in freedom in their own country, not freedom of association, freedom of expression nor freedom of the press. Throwing someone on prison for disagreeing with the goverment is a daily event. China does business with some of the worst governments in the world. Yes, the US should exert more pressure on trade partners to clean up their act, but China exerts none.

    • Oh you don’t know how many US companies were in China and Chinese nationals were favored to immigrate in US than others or Filipinos for that matter, why because of Chinese entrepreneurial skill compared to service oriented Filipinos.

  • Ngayon ko lang Nalaman Marami pa Magagaling at Matatalinong Pilipino.. Kasi ang Galing Nilang Magsalita kung Ano Dapat Gawin ni Presidente DUTERTE.. Yon Pala,Ano Kaya GINAWA ng mga Ito sa Loob ng 3 Dekada habang BINABASTOS,INAABUSO,WINAWASAK at NINANAKAWAN ng GOBYERNONG YELLOW EVILS FORCES ang Pilipinas!?HUWAG NATING KALILIMUTAN,LAHAT ng PROBLEMANG HINAHARAP Ngayon ni Presidente ay KAGAGAWAN ng mga YELLOW EVIL GOVERNMENT mula pa kay CORY COJUANGCO-AQUINO hanggang kay NOYNOY COJUANGCO-AQUINO-the WORST GOVERNMENT the Philippines EVER HAD!!!!!!THANK GOD Now we Have Our BELOVED PRES.DUTERTE!!! With Mayor DUTERTE as President,WE CAN be SURE WE’RE in Good HANDS…He’s REALLY GOD’S GIFT to the FILIPINO PEOPLE…Thanks be to GOD…GOD BLESS PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE…….

    • But many Americans acknowledge the preditory nature of Chinese International trade. China regularly sells products at a financial loss to put other companies out of business. Just because Americans have become addicted to cheap Chinese products, does not make it a good decision.

  • China produces different qualities of products. HIGH Quality, MEDIUM and LOW quality goods. It depends which products the buyers order from the importing country. The UNITED STATES buys high quality goods. See computer parts, electronic and others. PHILIPPINE Importers decide which quality to order and be saleable, profitable and easy to sell fast. The flooding of lower to MEDIUM QUALITY made in China products is totally dependent on our buying capacity as seen by Filipino importers.

    • Chinese business practice is predatory. They are willing to take an initial loss to put local manufacturers out of business. Many Filipino businesses have already been affected by this… for one- shoes. Filipino shoe manufacturers used to struggle to keep up with demand. Now many are running 1/2 shifts due to Chinese competetion. Do not fall into the same trap the US has fallen into!

    • Your idea is confined to businessmen. You must also consider the consumers for they are the end goal of any business. Remember, most Filipino consumers are not capable to buy expensive products from US and other western countries. Only medium quality, they can afford. Patronizing chinese does not mean putting philippines into trap as you said. It is a big motivation and challenge to local business to cope up and be competitive with other countries. On the hand, the chinese products pour into our countries create purchasing power of many Filipinos which in return helps our economy.

  • The US does a considerable amount of trade with China and has never suggested that the Philippines shouldn’t have similar trade ties. Go Duterte! Just don’t burn your bridges.

    • But many Americans acknowledge the preditory nature of Chinese International trade. China regularly sells products at a financial loss to put other companies out of business. Just because Americans have become addicted to cheap Chinese products, does not make it a good decision.

  • The problem isn’t just his Pro-China stance, it is his anti-America, anti-United Nations, anti-European Union comments. He seems to forget all that China has done against the Philippines. Has he forgotten the illegal construction of man-made islands in Philippine waters, obviously of military intent? or their claim on the entire sea? or Chinese Navy violating Philippine waters to protect illegal Chinese fishing boats? China has already started doing underwater surveys to steal petroleum under Philippine waters. Just because the Chinese Ambassador smiles and giggles, do you really think you can trust the Chinese? The only reason China is playing nice with the Philippines is because they lost their case in the International Court. They ARE NOT your friend!

  • personally, I have to think that Americans are not the same with America, Just like the Chinese are not China. this is because the behaviour of individuals in the micro household level is entirely different from the behaviour of the government running both economic and political systems. at the macro level, actions are articulated on policies and agreements and even if one president may want to do an extreme action, such could be curtailed by a policy.

  • Ang tawag nito, balancing. Tsaka, dati pa nmn sinabi na ng china na sa pilipinas nmn talga ang mga isla.. Ang gsto nila, joint exploration. Kasi wla nmn tayong kakayahan at sapat na pundo para maghukay sa dagat. Ganun din ang US, kaso sa US, interest lng nila ang gusto nila at hndi pra sa atin.. . At gsto pa nila magkaroon ng giyera with china at ang Ring, sa palawan lng nmn or pd sa northern luzon or pampanga.. Pinoprotektahan lanh ni pres. Duterte ang bansang pilipinas na matulad sa syria, iraq, yemen, ukrain, kasali na both koreas.. Proxy war.. Alam nmn natin na ang totoong magkalaban tlaga ay ang US vs Russia lang tlga which ally din ng china.

  • Naka experience na tayo sa spain; u.s. japan; hirap pa din Pinas. Bakit di natin sibukan ang china at russia. Diba si PFEM nag bukas diplomatic ties sa china at russia? Makipag trade at makipagkasundu tayo. Mas uunlad tayo kaysa sa makipag giyera.

  • It is not the “anti-dutertes” who said that but Duterte himself. He said ONLY china can help us and that Obama is a son of a whore. Parang si Abella o si Andanar kung magsulat tong si Vola a

  • Propaganda pa sige lang 🙂 the more you publish idiotic articles like these, the more people will eventually see through the lies and fallacies. So yeah go lang ng go 🙂

  • DU30 is so wiseman..why choose 1 side ?when Phil. can have both friendly support from USA and China..isn’t better to have double financial and aid supports from 2 big nations?

  • Dapat hatiin ang Pinas sa 2, Malapit n ang 500 daan tau nasakop di parin ngkakaisa. Yung North at South Korea pinangarap mgkaroon ng unification at yung Germany nahati din dati sa komunista at demokrasya pero ngkaisa na. Yung Pinas di man hati pero kapwa pinoy nglaban laban ang mga potang ina..

    • Kasi po may mga dilaw na anino na gumagalaw para ma proteksyunan ang kanilang makagahamang interes, Imbis na pakaisahin ang bansa,pilit nila itong pinahihiwalay para mapanatili ang kanilang kapangyarihan………

  • Let us all remember that even America has 3 trillion dollars loan with China. Whats wrong having bilateral deals with them and Russia and any country that will poster our economy. I used to her my prof before when I was is college that ” If you can turn your potential enemy into friend shows that you have the power coz you are in control”. Let us not be so hysteric with all these developments after all it is for our own benefit. Being neutral will allow us to focus on economic development rather that preparing for an impending WWIII!

  • At maraming hindi nakakaintindi nito lalo na ang LP at dilawan na walang hinahangad kundi ang mga pansarilibg interest lng. Hangang pati si Pres Duterte ay hindi nila naunawaan. Mahirap magpaliwanag sa mga taong sarado ang mga isip sa katotohanan.

  • Ilang presidente n ang nagpanatili ng friendship. sa US, EU at Japan…pero 3rd world p rin tau..c duterte gagawin ibahin ang daan …makikipag allies sa China at Russia ng nd naman ccrain ang allies natin sa US at s EU…bk tau umunlad din ….kung titingnan natin ang China at Russia ay mauunlad ng walang US sa llikuran
    At saka taken for granted lang tau ng US…oo nambibigay cla ng aid pero m kundisyon yan lalo pa at military aid….at isa p ngaun q lang nalaman ( sorry s nd q talaga alam )..mga Kano pag napasok ng pinas…visa free at walang kesyo kesyo anytime p …bat pag pinoy daming tsetse buretse…idedeny k p …minsan tagal aproban ng visa mo..paimportante b…nd b dapat visa free din pinoy…un kung allies talaga turing sa mga pinoys…parang sa ksnilang conveniences lang ang friendship natin ah…saka racist cla…brown monkey nga tawag nila sa pinoys nd b ..
    So dapat lang n suportahan c duterte sa mga changes n ginagawa niya…kaibigan nga natin ung mga westernized n sobra layo …bat nd sa co Asian at neighbor p natin gaya ng china

  • China has the money and they can deliver huge investment and infra projects in philippines…US cannot deliver anymore huge investment in the philippines since their economy is going down..they even have difficulties in providing jobs to its own people.

    Middle east economy is collapsing and a lot of ofw will be sent home. This ofw needs jobs…if philippine infrastructure projects will boom due to chinese investment in philippine then those ofw who were repatriated from mid east will be able to find job in our own country.

    And at the end of the day there is food in the table.

  • “I announce my separation from the United States both in the military but economics also,” pahayag ng Pangulo na nasa apat na araw na state visit sa China. – Pilipino Star Ngayon

    Hindi ba mutually exclusive ibig sabihin nito? Sasabihin mo mga anti-Duterte lang nag-iisip ng ganito, galing na mismo sa bibig ng iyong pinakakamahal na panggulo.