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PIA Press Release

PGMA bullish about long-term RP-China economic relations

Manila (5 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said on Monday night she is bullish not only about the continued growth of the economies of both the Philippines and China, but also the two countries' long-term relationship.

China has not only vaulted to the top of the list of the Philippines' biggest export markets, dislodging the United States, but it has also emerged as one of the country's top sources of foreign investments.

Addressing leaders and members of the Filipino Chinese community during the Spring Festival Reception hosted at the Manila Hotel by the Chinese embassy in Manila, President Arroyo said:

"We are bullish about the long-term economic prognosis of our two countries and we are even more bullish about our relationship with each other."

The President added that "an aggressive foreign policy is essential to the lifeblood of the Philippines, that is why we are so gratified -- reflecting on our relationship during this Chinese new year's eve -- that the Philippines and China and our relations with each other have so much to expand and build on in 2008."

For starters, the President cited three Chinese companies – Jichuan, Citic and Jilin Nickel – as "some of the investors who have expressed interest in projects in the Philippines."

"In terms of mining, China is one of the world's biggest consumers of metal so, for the mining industry, this represents a significant opportunity in terms of mining exploration, development and mineral exports, particularly at a time when we are looking to develop our one trillion dollars worth of mineral reserves across the country," she said.

"We hope to see the nickel and other Chinese investments come to fruition soon," she added.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Song Tao led Chinese embassy officials at the dinner reception.

The President said "with Beijing hosting the 2008 Summer Games, the Olympics, and China's rise as the third-largest economy in the world, China's performance is also expected to bring heightened economic progress in our region."

China's rise as an economic giant, the President said, is a "significant opportunity for the Philippines" as she stressed that the Philippines' "overall relations with China are now more confident, mature, and comprehensive."

The RP-PROC relations are "punctuated with substantial and important projects, not just the legal mines, many projects aimed at deepening exchanges in a number of areas, including trade and investment," she said.

She pointed out that China is now the Philippines' largest "export market and as Ambassador Song Tao has said, we have had a substantial trade surplus with China since 2002."

"Our framework agreement on expanding and deepening bilateral economic and trade cooperation is further enhancing bilateral merchandise trade with China," said President Arroyo, who advised that both countries should endeavor to close the income-inequality gap.

But the President pointed out that although "both our economies are booming – the Philippines with 7.3 percent… and China with its continuing double-digit growth -- like so many places in the world, whether rich and poor alike, we must both fight to close the gap in income inequality."

In the face of uncertainties in the global economy, the President said she remains "cautiously optimistic that both our countries have worked to manage our economy so that we can weather any storm -- whether it be economic or a snow storm or a typhoon in the near term."

In her address, the President wished the "Chinese people all over the world, and especially the Chinese people and the Filipino-Chinese in the Philippines, a happy and prosperous Year of the Rat… (and) may we all have a meaningful and progressive 2008 ahead." (OPS) [top]

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