Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Saturday called for stronger trade links with China and urged Chinese businessmen to make more investments in her country.
In a meeting with Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, who is on an official visit here, President Arroyo said trade between the two countries is growing and China is now one of the major trading partners of the Philippines.
China's accession to the World Trade Organization has provided the Philippines with opportunities of market access to China, and the Philippines hopes for stronger trade links with China, said Arroyo.
She appealed to Chinese businessmen to make the Philippines one of their investment destinations and sought assistance from China when the Philippines holds a trade fair in Shanghai in eastern China early next year.
The president also urged more Chinese tourists to visit her country while thanking the Chinese government for canceling a travel advisory warning its citizens of the danger while traveling in the Philippines.
For his part, Li said that although bilateral trade has grown rapidly in recent years, there is still a great potential to tap.
Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to US$3.5 billion last year, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year.
Li said China follows a foreign policy of peace and hopes that the two countries would make concerted efforts to further promote the friendly cooperative relations between them.
Li also assured Arroyo that China will try its best to help the Philippines with the upcoming trade fair.
Before the meeting, President Arroyo and Li witnessed the signing of four cooperation documents between the two countries, including an agreement under which China will provide a loan of about US$25 million to the Philippines for its expansion project in the southern port city of General Santos.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of agreement on China's assistance in the construction of railways in the main northern Philippine island of Luzon.
Li arrived here Thursday night for a three-day official goodwill visit. He will leave here Sunday morning for Australia, the last leg of his four-nation Asia-Pacific trip which has already taken him to Thailand and Indonesia.
(People's Daily September 15, 2002)