, AUGUST 31, 2007 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - A high-powered business delegation will join President Arroyo in her trip to Sydney, Australia next week to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit upon the invitation of Prime Minister John Howard.

Mrs. Arroyo is scheduled to leave for Sydney on Wednesday (Sept. 5) to attend the annual APEC Leaders’ Summit, where she is expected to have bilateral talks with some heads of state at the sidelines of the meeting.

“Our participation in APEC has resulted in greater security for all due to stronger multilateral, regional, and bilateral partnerships between and among APEC members against terrorism,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Among the members of the delegation is Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, chairman and chief executive officer of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Southeast Asia’s largest food and beverage conglomerate. SMC has controlling stakes in Australia’s dairy National Foods Ltd., brewer J. Boag and Son, and fruit juice company Berri.

Accompanying Cojuangco is SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.

Also joining the delegation is Benjamin Philip Romualdez, president and chief executive officer of Benguet Corp., and chairman of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

Benguet Corp. has extensive dealings with Australian mining firms.

Romualdez said members of the business delegation were personally invited by Howard to attend APEC meetings.

“There we hope to sustain the investor interest for Philippine mining projects,” Romualdez told The STAR.

Other members of the delegation are Jose Cuisia Jr., president and chief executive officer of Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co.; Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairwoman of SM Investments; and Jesus Tambunting, chairman and chief executive officer of Planter’s Development Bank.

Also joining the trip are members of the APEC Business Advisory Council, namely, Roberto R. Romulo, chairman of Philam Insurance Inc., and Doris Magsaysay-Ho, president and chief executive officer of the Magsaysay Group of Companies.

A briefing paper provided by Australian Embassy officials yesterday said an APEC Australia Business Summit will be held from Sept. 6 to 7. The summit, in a break from previous practices, is being organized directly by the Australian government on an invitation-only basis, the paper said.

“The summit has been designed to maximize the opportunities for genuine dialogue between APEC economic leaders, business leaders, international opinion setters and policy makers. A range of issues will be covered including trade, market and structural issues, energy, education, information and innovation,” the paper said.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Tony Hely told journalists yesterday that apart from the traditional agenda of trade and economic cooperation, the summit will also tackle human security as well as sustainable development, particularly climate change.

Hely said he expects a stand alone leaders’ declaration on climate change to come out of the summit.

APEC economies account for 40 percent of world’s population, and 56 percent of global gross domestic product, and around 48 percent of world trade.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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