PIA Press Release
PGMA bares signing of 9 bilateral agreements with India
NEW DELHI, India (via PLDT) (5 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced today the signing of nine bilateral agreements aimed at fortifying the economic, political, security and cultural relations between the Philippines and India.
The President made the announcement during the forum of the Filipino-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and India's Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Oberoi Hotel here this afternoon.
The President said these agreements are:
- Framework of Philippines-India Bilateral Relations, and Agreement to Establish the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation
"These two agreements identify priorities, set directions and lead Philippines-India relations to a new era in various areas of cooperation such as defense and security, health and medicine, trade and investments, energy, agriculture, tourism and culture," the President said.
- The $50-million credit line from the Export and Import Bank of India
"We hope this can finance transactions that will correct the lopsided nature of our trade in favor of India. With India now as one of the world's top economies with a new middle class of half a billion people, your internal market demand and domestic consumption can have a direct and positive impact on us in terms of job creation, balance of trade and investment," the President said.
- Philippines-India Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism
"Indeed, terrorism is an international blight. If we are to fight terrorism together we must strengthen our defense cooperation. Last year, we signed a defense cooperation agreement but that should be carried out and implemented," she said.
The President said defense cooperation should be more intensive such as the exchange of military personnel and students, joint military exercises in non-combat activities such as disaster response, peacekeeping, and other humanitarian actions.
- Memorandum of Agreement in the Field of Health and Medicine, and
- Agreement between the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) and the Indian State Trading Corporation for the purchase of $35 million worth of quality but affordable medicines from India
"Our massive spending onČ health care includes importing pharmaceuticals from India as part of our program to cut in half the price of medicines commonly bought by the poor," the President said.
- Memorandum of Agreement on Enhanced Cooperation in theČ Field of Renewable Energy
"We are developing a biofuels industry that helps our energy independence, create jobs and keeps our nation clean for future generations. Yesterday Praj Industries informed us they are ready to roll out their Philippine bio-ethanol plant soon. We also want to explore joint ventures between Philippine and Indian institutions to produce biofuel from sweet sorghum and jatropha," the President said.
The President said she has invited Indian corporations to participate in the privatization of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and the National Transmission Corporation (Transco).
"Yesterday, Kalpataru Power Transmission said they would join the bid for the December privatization of our national transmission grid," the President said.
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between theČ Foreign Service Institutes of the Philippines and India
- Memorandum of Agreement on the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic Passports and Official Passports
"We have liberalized our policy towards Indian nationals. We had an anachronistic policy considering Indians as restricted nationals. How illogical to restrict nationals of the world's fourth largest economy when we should be courting you instead," the President said.
As a result of India's new-found economic power, the President said there are political, economic and strategic implications for India and the East Asian region.
"As India becomes a true political and economic giant, your obligations to your neighbors also increase, separate from your obligations to your own citizens. These are big responsibilities which we hope will be accommodated in our bilateral relations with each other," the President said. (OPS) [top]