Shanghai, China, March 30, 2003 -- Speaker Jose de Venecia said yesterday 
he and the Philippine delegation to the first Philippine Trade Exhibition 
in Shanghai have agreed to quarantine for one week as a precaution against 
the spread of the RSBS virus.

"I have already informed Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit about this 
decision. We are taking this step even if Shanghai is not affected," De 
Venecia said.

De Venecia said there was no evidence of spreading infection in Shanghai, 
one of China's cleanest cities, and that the infection is in Southern China 
and Hong Kong.

De Venecia and 12 congressmen are in Shanghai, joining officials from the 
Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Tourism, along with a media contingent for the 
first-ever exhibition of Philippine export products in the China, Asia's 
biggest market.

"We are trying to achieve a breakthrough in the Chinese market of 1.2 
billion people," he said. "We need a powerful new and creative strategy to 
penetrate the Chinese market, now the biggest in Asia."

About 160 Philippine producers and exporters set up booths in Shanghai's 
Exhibition Center which is expected to be visited by more than 100,000 
businessmen and producers.

De Venecia gave credit to Manila Rep. Harry C. Angping, chairman of the 
House Committee on Trade and Industry and co-chair of the Inter-Agency 
Coordinating Committee for the exhibit that showcases the best Philippine 
products and services.

De Venecia urged Philippine business leaders to access 42,000 
Chinese-Taiwanese joint venture factories and invite them to set up 
factories in the Visayas and Mindanao.

He said that if Filipinos succeed in attracting just 1 percent of this 
figure, the Philippines would have 420 new factories that would 
dramatically boost Philippine exports, raise the country's industrial 
potential and create thousands of new jobs.

China's export trade is about $260 billion a year, and the Philippines 
would have a tremendous boost if it can get even 1 percent of this figure 
in the amount of $2.6 billion.

De Venecia also asked the Chinese government to consider having a Chinese 
airline open a direct Manila-Shanghai route to triple the arrivals of 
Chinese businessmen and trade officials. At present, Philippine Airlines 
has one flight daily to Shanghai.

Philippine trade with China has grown at an annual rate of 8.56 percent and 
stands at $1.746 billion, Angping said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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