RP  EXPECTING  1.85B U.S. DOLLARS IN NEW INVESTS FROM SOUTH KOREA

MANILA
, August 7, 2005
 (STAR) (AFP) The Philippines is expecting as much as 1.85 billion US dollars in new investments from South Korea, the government announced Saturday following a visit by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan.

Lee, who met with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo late Friday also discussed "security as well as trade issues," with her, Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye said without elaborating.

Arroyo said in a statement that the Hanjin group of South Korea was establishing a "ship component manufacturing facility," in the former US Subic naval base, north of Manila that will eventually become a ship-building facility with total investments of about a billion dollars.

The Korea Electric Power Corp in turn will invest about 250 million dollars in energy projects in the central island of Cebu and will expand an existing plant in Batangas province, just south of the capital with another investment of 600 million dollars, Arroyo added.

She did not give a timetable for these projects.

Arroyo remarked that South Koreans had become one of the top foreign tourists to this country with 400,000 South Koreans arriving last year and about half a million expected this year.

"Economic relations between our two countries have never been better," Arroyo said in a speech to Lee during his stopover in this country on his way back from the funeral of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia.

The presidential palace said the large South Korean investments in the Philippines showed that the business climate was still good despite a political storm over opposition efforts to oust Arroyo on allegations of election fraud.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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