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Only RP, Timor Leste holding talks with China

Arroyos at Beijing luncheon for world leaders

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:07:00 08/08/2008

Filed Under: Diplomacy, Investments, Summer Olympics

BEIJING, China -- The Philippines is one of only two countries whose leaders are scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the Chinese president, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said here Friday.

The other country is Timor Leste, represented by President Jose Ramos Horta.

Just hours before the opening of the 29th Olympics, Chinese President Hu Jintao is hosting lunch for world leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo join United States President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy and their spouses at lunch with the Chinese leader.

Earlier, Arroyo received three Chinese business enterprises with pending investment projects in the Philippines -- with Fujian Longlin for the construction of a cement plant; Sunshine 100 for real-estate property development in low-cost, medium-cost, and high-end housing projects; and Wei Wei Group for the construction of a ferro-nickel smelting plant in Zambales.

Trade Secretary Peter Favila said the cement plant, which will provide three investment tranches of $100 million, $75 million, and $100 million each, will provide healthier competition in the Philippines.

He said Arroyo stressed the need for the cement plant to abide by Philippine environmental laws.

Favila said Arroyo committed to help the company, which has 100 cement plants in China, look for a site for the Philippines facility and in coordinating with local government officials.

Sunshine 100, Favila said, will invest some $5 billion in its endeavor. It also plans to build houses for "tens of thousands" of retirees from China. "The company is creating its own market," he said.

He said Weiwei's $100-million smelting plant, on the other hand, is expected to create 1,600 jobs.

Favila said all these investment projects will be done in partnerships with Filipino companies to comply with constitutional limitations on foreign ownerships in certain industries.

"Hindi lalabas ng lampas sa ating batas [They won't go beyond what our laws allow]," he said.



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