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PIA Press Release

PGMA begins busy 4-day working visit to Switzerland on Wednesday

ZURICH, Switzerland (22 January) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to arrive here at 11 p.m. Tuesday (6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Manila time) for her four-day working visit to Switzerland to discuss key issues with world leaders and entice more investments, trade and cooperation by showcasing the advantages and economic upsurge of the Philippines due to various reforms initiated by her administration.

The President's visit here will be highlighted by her attendance at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the ski resort city of Davos, which gathers more than 2,500 participants from 88 countries, including 27 heads of state or government, 113 Cabinet members, along with religious and media leaders, and heads of non-governmental organizations.

For over three decades, the annual meeting has become a venue and platform for collaboration and action for the leaders of governments and various sectors to address priorities and global issues at the start of each year.

The world leaders, top business officials and other guests would be officially welcomed to the 2008 WEF annual meeting during a reception Wednesday in Davos, located some three hours by land travel from Zurich.

On her first day here Wednesday, the President is scheduled to meet with top Swiss businessmen when she addresses the Swiss Chamber of Commerce at the Savoy Hotel in this city, the largest and the main commercial and cultural center of Switzerland.

This would be followed by a series of business and courtesy calls led by Zuellig Pharmaceuticals Chairman Dr. Stephen Zuellig, and the luncheon with the International Board of Advisors before departing in the afternoon for Davos.

On Thursday, the President is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with business leaders in Davos, highlighted by the bilateral meetings with Swiss Confederation President Pascal Couchepin and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdulah Bin Hadji Ahmad Badawis.

The President is also scheduled to hold meetings with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy, and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who is one of the co-chairmen of the 2008 WEF annual meet.

On Friday morning, the President would have a 10-minute live interview by Reuters senior journalist Steve Clark in the official breakfast program of WEF, "Davos Today."

Afterwards, the President would have a series of courtesy calls and meetings led by Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, WEF Executive Chairman and Founder Prof. Klaus Schwab, Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Sadako Ogata, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan.

President Arroyo would then address the high-level plenary session of the Swiss Congress on the "Emerging Role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Asian Community."

The President's working visit here will be highlighted by her address at the WEF on "Gender Parity Group: Agenda for the Future" at the Congress Centre, Parsenn Workspace in Davos, on Friday evening.

The President will leave for Dubai on Saturday morning. (OPS) [top]

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