MALACANANG, October 19, 2003  (from OPS) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will leave for Bangkok tomorrow to attend the 11th Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) being hosted by the government of Thailand.

In the two-day summit on October 20-21, the President will join the heads of state and government of 20 other member economies of APEC, including US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

This is the third time that the Chief Executive will attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting. The first time was in Shanghai in October 2003 and the second at Los Cabos, Mexico in October last year.

At the Bangkok summit, the President is expected to sustain the momentum started by the Group of 21 that called for trade liberalization and scrapping of the subsidy to farmers in the developed world.

The Philippines is a leading member of the Group of 21, which was formed by developing countries at the recent meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Cancun, Mexico.

While in Bangkok, the President will also hold bilateral talks with other APEC leaders on the sidelines of the main APEC forum. She is scheduled to meet separately with the leaders of Chile and the People’s Republic of China. Bilateral meetings with other leaders are still being worked out.

The President, along with leaders of the seven ASEAN member countries which are also members of APEC, will jointly meet with US President Bush before the main APEC leaders’ forum.

The President and the First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo will also have an audience with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Chakri Mahaprasat, the king’s palace.

APEC was established in Canberra, Australia in l989 to further enhance economic growth and prosperity in the region and to strengthen the Asia Pacific community.

The first meeting, on the ministerial level, was attended by only 12 countries.

Now APEC’s 21 members—referred to as "member economies"—account for more than 2.5 billion people, a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 19 trillion US dollars, and 47 percent of the world’s total trade.

APEC also represents the most economically dynamic region in the world having generated nearly 70 percent of global economic growth in its first 10 years.

The member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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