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Monday, November 12, 2012

Canadian Prime Minister says Phl is Emerging Asian Tiger

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper with President Benigno Aquino III [photo by AP/Bullit Marquez via Inquirer Business]
Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper sees the Philippines as “an emerging Asian tiger,” agreeing with the bullish outlook on the country of political and business leaders from many other parts of the world.
To demonstrate Canada’s confidence in the Philippine economy, Harper pledged to increase Canadian investment in the country in his meeting with President Benigno Aquino.
Bilateral trade between Canada and the Philippines amounts to US$1.5 billion.
Mr. Aquino and Harper agreed to cooperate on defense and trade, and committed to people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and Canada.
Mr. Aquino and Harper also announced that the Philippine Department of National Defense and the state-run Canadian Commercial Corp. had signed a deal to help Manila buy military equipment to defend its territory.
The deal was signed amid a territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over islands and waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
President Aquino said the deal would help the Philippines build up its defense and security capabilities. He declined to elaborate.
But Harper said the deal would “enable the Philippines to acquire the equipment and expertise it needs to fulfill the country’s defense and security agenda.”
Under the deal, Philippine purchases of equipment and expertise from Canada’s C$12.6 billion (US$12.6 billion) defense industry are guaranteed by the Ottawa government, according to a Canadian government statement.
Mr. Aquino and Harper discussed the progress in the Aquino administration’s good government program and the gains in the peace process, particularly the signing of framework agreement for peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
At the news conference, Mr. Aquino and Harper did not cite specific amounts for Canadian investment, but Harper described the Philippines as an “important economic partner” and an “emerging Asian tiger.”
Mr. Aquino said the Philippines was open for business under a new management, and that he saw the visit of Harper as a “recognition of the change of atmosphere in the Philippines.”
“We do see increased commercial trade ties between our countries,” Mr. Aquino said.
He said it was “logical to assume” that the $1.5 billion two-way trade between the two countries is “just the starting point.”

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