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PIA Press Release

PGMA sees acceleration of RP economy next year

HONG KONG (via PLDT/SMART) (2 November) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the Philippine economy is on track to grow between 5.5 and 6.5 percent in 2007, up from 5 percent in 2005 and higher than the government projection of 5.6 percent this year.

The expected acceleration of the economy comes on the back of economic, fiscal and other policy reforms, including the imposition of a higher Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Natural Attrition Law.

She told a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel this afternoon that the peso, which rose Monday to its highest level in four years at 49.73 to the US dollar, could still rise.

The President arrived here Tuesday afternoon after attending the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) + China Commemorative Summit in Nanning, China.

Looking ahead, she said she hoped the economy would follow a sustained growth path and hit 7 percent by the end of her term in 2010.

Assessing the Philippine economy this year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has described 2006 as a "very good year" for the country.

Ifzal Ali, ADB chief economist, projected that the Philippine economic growth, boosted by the agricultural sector, would hit 5.4 percent this year.

"Agriculture production was strong in the first half and industry performed better than expected. This dampened inflation pressures," the ADB economist said.

The Chief Executive, this year's Chair of the Asean, co-chaired with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao the 15th Asean + China Commemorative Summit.

In her address at the opening of the 3rd China Asean Business and Investment Summit on Tuesday in Nanning, the President said her administration had taken various steps to make the Philippines investment-friendly, and to ensure the security and competitiveness of foreign investments.

Still in China, the President batted for stronger trade relations among the Asean member countries and China and close cooperation in regional security.

In her bilateral meeting with Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Buophavanh, President Arroyo was informed that Laos was interested in investing in mining and the information technology sector in the Philippines.

The Laotian leader also sought the President's assistance in lowering the cost of trade between the two countries. (PIA) [top]

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