PHILIPPINES-CHINA  TRADE  EXCEEDS  13 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS

MANILA, June 12, 2005
 (STAR) Philippine trade with China exceeded 13 billion US dollars in 2004 and the future of the two countries’ trade partnership looks even brighter, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Thursday night.

In a speech at the 30th anniversary celebration of Philippine-China diplomatic relations held at the Manila Hotel, the President said the Philippines enjoys a surplus of almost five billion dollars in its trade with China.

"China has become a major trading partner of the country," she said, adding that, "Aside from being a vigorous and generous trading partner, China is an investor in our industries, in our mines, in our oil exploration."

The President said the former sleeping giant is also a partner in development assistance to the Philippines, a source of technology in rice and corn and a fellow crusader in the war on drugs and other transnational crimes.

"Thank you People’s Republic of China for all these manifestations of partnership," she said to the applause of the big crowd at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel.

China has made the single biggest investment in the Philippines’ mining sector with one billion dollars in Philippine Nickel Corporation (Philnico) in Surigao.

The President said that in this decade of China’s phenomenal growth, there was a great debate: "Is China’s rise a threat or an opportunity to the rest of the world in countries like the Philippines?"

On this issue, her administration made a clear choice in embracing the opportunity to become China’s strong partner, she said.

She said she agrees with Chinese President Hu Jintao who, during his recent state visit to the Philippines, referred to the 30th anniversary of Philippine-China diplomatic ties as the beginning of a golden age of friendship between the two countries.

"Indeed we stand boldly full of hope on the frontiers of a golden age of partnership with the People’s Republic of China," the President said.

She added, "This will be a golden age built on the firm foundations of three decades of formal relations, and centuries of close ties, deep understanding and shared interests.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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