Despite the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel and transportation, the Philippines, through the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, pooled resources to make its presence felt at this year’s CAEXPO. Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana led the Philippines’ participation in 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2020 in Nanning, People’s Republic of China on 27-29 November 2020.
CAEXPO is one of the most important events in China’s annual trade expositions calendar. It is the last in a succession of three major expositions usually held in the second half of the year. The two other major events are the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) permanently hosted by the city of Xiamen, and the China International Import Expo (CIIE) held regularly in Shanghai.
Ambassador Sta. Romana, along with other Ambassadors of ASEAN missions in China, attended the opening ceremony of CAEXPO 2020, which showed video messages from the leaders of ASEAN, China and Pakistan, including that of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Ambassador Sta. Romana also headed the formal opening of the Philippine National and Commodities Pavilion, keynoted the Philippines-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, which also commemorated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China diplomatic relations.
On the last day of the Expo, the Ambassador led the Philippine delegation during the celebration of the 10thanniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). The event was set against two notable developments this year – the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the conclusion of this year’s ASEAN Summit by the ASEAN Member States, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and ASEAN becoming China’s largest trading partner during the first three quarters of 2020, overtaking the European Union and the United States of America in trade volume.
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