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China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA)

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China unveils int'l development cooperation agency
Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-18 22:05:06|Editor: Lifang

BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China Wednesday officially unveiled its International Development Cooperation Agency.

The new agency will be responsible for strategic guidelines and policies on foreign aid; coordinating and making suggestions on major related issues; reforming the foreign aid system; and making plans and overseeing their implementation.

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The agency is important for Chinese diplomacy and the Belt and Road Initiative, said Yang.

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PHL seeks China grants for feasibility studies of 12 infra projects

BEIJING—The Philippines has submitted to the new aid agency of the People’s Republic of China an indicative list of 12 big-ticket infrastructure projects that will undergo feasibility studies with possible Chinese grant financing, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

In a meeting between a Cabinet-level delegation from Manila and China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) chairman Wang Xiaotao, an agreement was also reached in which Beijing will provide a $13.4-million grant to fund the feasibility study of the proposed bridge project that will link the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros in the Philippines’ Visayas region.

The Exchange of Letters for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project was signed by Chairman Wang and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar during the meeting held at the CIDCA Headquarters here last week.

Following the meeting with CIDCA, the Philippine delegation also met with Export-Import Bank of China (China EXIM) chairperson Hu Xiaolin to further discuss loan financing and co-financing arrangements for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects.

According to Wang, the Philippine delegation led by Dominguez was “the first high-level delegation” that CIDCA has received since its establishment in April this year.

“This truly shows that China gives great importance to the promotion of its bilateral relations with the Philippines,” Wang said during the meeting as he assured the delegation that through CIDCA, China will continue to provide assistance to the Philippines “in the direction determined by the leaders of both our countries.”

Dominguez, who thanked Wang for bestowing on the Philippines the honor of being the first foreign country to meet with CIDCA’s top brass, pointed out that “the helping hand of China has been very critical in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program of the Philippine government.”

Aside from Dominguez and Villar, the other members of the Philippine delegation included Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and other senior government officials.

On the Chinese side, CIDCA deputy chairman Zhou Liujun and Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and other officials were also present.

CIDCA is China’s new organization responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance to other countries. CIDCA was among the reforms unveiled by China during its National People’s Congress held in March 2018.

Given that the aid agency was newly established, Dominguez suggested to Wang that a technical working group (TWG) composed of officials from the Chinese Embassy in Manila and Philippine officials from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Finance (DOF) and the Philippine Embassy in China be formed to further discuss CIDCA’s operational procedures.

Dominguez also asked Wang to consider assigning a CIDCA portfolio officer for the Philippines.

Wang, in response, said Dominguez’s suggestions are “very necessary.”

During the meeting, Pernia presented before Wang the indicative list of 12 flagship projects proposed for Chinese grant financing.

This list includes the future phases of the Mindanao Railway Project, Luzon-Samar (Matnog-Alen) Bridge, Dinagat (Leyte)-Surigao Link Bridge, Camarines Sur-Catanduanes Friendship Bridge, development of the Luzon Eastern Seaboard, Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge, Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge, Negros-Cebu Link Bridge, Ipo Dam No.3, Port Irene Development-Navigational Channel, Cabadbaran Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, and the River Basin and Watershed Management Project in Camarines Sur.

“These projects are selected considering geographic spread, the size of the investment requirement, and the Duterte administration’s focus on connectivity, rural development and disaster prevention, among other considerations,” Pernia said.

Pernia also gave an overview of the Philippine economy, which remains among the best performing ones in the Asia next to Vietnam and China, and informed Wang of the implementation of the Duterte administration’s tax reform program and high-impact infrastructure projects.

Earlier, the Philippine delegation met separately with China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan to discuss the progress of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects and ways to swiftly address challenges in their implementation. The delegation also met with Vice Premier Hu Chunhua who underscored the need further strengthen bilateral relations with the Philippines through enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges.

The Philippine officials also discussed with top executives of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank the possibility of coming up with flexible loan financing arrangements for the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects.

5 questions on China's planned foreign aid agency
By Jenny Lei Ravelo, Lisa Cornish // 16 March 2018

MANILA — A huge structural overhaul in China’s Cabinet includes plans for the establishment of an international development cooperation agency, raising significant questions about the future of Chinese aid.

The plan was unveiled on Tuesday before the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s legislature body. It includes the reshuffle of several ministries and commissions under China’s State Council, and the formation of new entities.

The proposal to create China’s own development cooperation agency is seen as a means to further the country’s diplomacy, and support President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative. Early reports from Xinhua, the national press service, note the planned agency will be responsible for China’s foreign aid guidelines, plans, policies, coordination, oversight, and project evaluation.

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Chinese aid has traditionally been handled and managed by different ministries, departments, and entities under the State Council. The varied actors, coupled with scant access to information, has made it difficult for experts to chart a definitive organizational chart that sets clear lines of responsibility within the aid system.

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With so many entities involved in handling and implementing Chinese aid across the Chinese government, it’s often difficult to trace who is doing what and who is accountable for a particular project.

But with the prospect of a dedicated aid agency, the hope is that this would help improve coordination between the different ministries and departments, as well as between other bilateral and multilateral donors.

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--- Quote from: adroth on October 07, 2018, 03:24:48 PM ---Philippines-China infra co-financing issues resolved, says Dominguez
Published August 28, 2018 1:32pm

Chinese officials affirmed last week that they are willing to co-finance Philippine infrastructure projects, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.

“Clarifying that they’re willing to do co-finance, clarifying that they’re willing to finance in Renminbi rather than just dollars ... Those are the things that we discussed,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters on the sidelines of the 2018 EJAP Economic Forum in Manila.

Dominguez, along with other members of the administration’s economic team, was in Beijing on August 22 to 24 to meet with Chinese officials.

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The Philippine delegation included Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and CEO Vivencio Dizon.

They met with China’s State Councilor and Foreign Affairs  Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) Director Wang Xiaotao, Export-Import Bank of China (China EXIM) Chairperson Hu Xiaolian, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) president Jin Liqun.

“The meetings were extremely productive,” Dominguez said, but did not give out specific details on the agreements made during the meetings.

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Dominguez said in July that securing official development assistance (ODA) from China has been delayed by the reorganization of the Chinese government early this year.

Last June, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia floated the idea of going for a shift in financing mode for some infrastructure projects if there are delays in securing ODA from China and Japan. —VDS, GMA News

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The Ins and Outs of China’s International Development Agency

Established in March 2018, the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) aims to elevate the political importance of foreign aid, better align the country’s aid agenda with its overall foreign policy, and tackle bureaucratic fragmentation. Since then, the CIDCA’s portfolio has continued to slowly take shape. What policy challenges will the agency seek to address, and what role can other Chinese actors and the international community expect it to play?


Before the CIDCA materialized, China’s aid spending had been growing markedly since the turn of the millennium, yet the institutional structure of its aid system had barely changed since the mid-1990s. The Chinese aid model combines aid with commercially oriented trade and investment ventures. This approach is rooted in the idea that since China is (by definition) a developing country, its aid spending should be “mutually beneficial” and serve the recipients’ and China’s economic development goals.

Beijing adopted this approach after receiving Japanese developmental aid in the early 1980s. Formalized in 1995 under then minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation Wu Yi, the model provided Chinese companies with a low-risk framework for internationalizing their operations by implementing aid projects. (In 2003, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation was reorganized and renamed the Ministry of Commerce, but this reorganization did not radically alter the structure and role of the ministry’s aid-focused personnel.) Alongside these economic motivations, Beijing also has consistently considered aid a foreign policy tool. For instance, China’s top leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have admitted that aid helped Beijing secure its seat in the UN General Assembly in 1971. The AidData project by researchers affiliated with the College of William and Mary has shown a notable correlation between Chinese aid giving and the voting behavior of recipient countries.

This juxtaposition of diplomatic and economic objectives was reflected in China’s aid governance structure, whose core was comprised of three nominally coequal government agencies: the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Commerce (specifically its Department of Foreign Aid) was tasked with managing China’s foreign aid portfolio. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated aid policy formation and annual planning with the Ministry of Commerce and sought to ensure that the aid agenda aligned with broader foreign policy goals. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance coordinated the aid budget with the Ministry of Commerce and was responsible for China’s financial contributions to multilateral development agencies and banks. To complicate matters further, depending on the economic sector, China’s aid management bureaucracy involved more than twenty central line ministries, commissions, and agencies as well as their provincial counterparts.

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First, the tension between the economic and diplomatic aims of China’s foreign aid portfolio reflected a fierce competition between the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over which body would control the aid program and which interests would take precedent. According to the Australian scholar Denghua Zhang, for a long time, the Ministry of Commerce was on the winning side of this battle, mainly because former commerce ministers such as Li Lanqing and Wu Yi were promoted to senior positions in the State Council, assuming higher ranks than former foreign ministers did. This has changed under Xi. Former foreign minister Yang Jiechi was promoted to the State Council in 2013, where he served until 2018 and was succeeded by the current foreign minister, Wang Yi. Yang now heads the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office. The CIDCA reports to both Wang and Yang.

Second, in the long-running absence of any substantial institutional revamping, China’s old aid apparatus led by the Ministry of Commerce became increasingly complex and fragmented. Chinese observers have long attributed the general opaqueness of China’s aid system to this high complexity and fragmentation, whereas many observers outside China assume that the government is being deliberately secretive. To exacerbate matters more, the foreign aid system, like most parts of China’s political system, suffered from bureaucratic stovepiping: relevant information tended to be channeled up and down each ministry’s chain of command, and government departments exchanged little or no information. Information sharing between ministries occurred almost exclusively at the level of the State Council and the Central Foreign Affairs Commission. These problems continue to exist under the current CIDCA-led system, and while the CIDCA is mandated to address them, it is yet too early to say how successful the endeavor will be.

Third, China’s aid system is plagued by a dearth of oversight that has hampered accountability and sometimes resulted in waste or corruption. The problem is not a new one. For many years even before the CIDCA emerged, Beijing stressed the need to reform the aid system if it wants to be perceived as a responsible power. At an August 2010 national work conference on aid, then premier Wen Jiabao warned that China must improve the quality of its aid projects, strengthen the oversight of Chinese companies that implement aid projects, hold them accountable for illegal activities and subcontracting, and ensure that they abide by local laws. To achieve that, Wen argued, China needed to reform its aid institutions, systematize its aid management, and improve the capacity of its aid personnel.

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Inadequate oversight of aid projects has repeatedly led to negative environmental and social outcomes that have damaged the Chinese government’s reputation. One such project is the Stung Cheay Areng hydropower plant in Cambodia, the construction of which Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen suspended in late 2014 following massive local protests. The Chinese contractor, a state-owned construction company called Sinohydro, failed to engage local citizens in dialogue about their environmental concerns. Using primarily social media outreach, activists mobilized a wave of support that pressured the prime minister to suspend the project. It remains shelved today. In the aftermath, numerous Chinese state media outlets reposted an article that originally appeared in Nikkei Asian Review arguing that environmental degradation needed to be taken more seriously in relation to Chinese aid projects. This reflected a shift in China’s official discourse toward paying more attention to the environmental and social costs of economic development.

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