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Bachelet first Apec leader in Manila

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet arrived Sunday afternoon, the first head of state to make it to Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit and her first state visit to the Philippines.

Bachelet, who is also Chile’s first woman president, arrived on a 767 military aircraft at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at 1:24 p.m.

Delegate from Chile. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet arrives in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings to be held in the Philippine capital this week. ERIC APOLONIO
She was welcomed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Philippine Ambassador to Chile Consuelo Puyat Reyes, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman and foreign affairs chief protocol officer Maria Aileen Bugarin.

Bachelet and Aquino will discuss bilateral issues, which include trade and investments, and are expected to sign a framework agreement leading to negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Besides Chile and the Philippines, other Apec members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, United States and Vietnam. 

Meanwhile, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and President Benigno Aquino III are set to meet Tuesday to partly discuss Peru’s bid to forge stronger bilateral relations with the Philippines.

Peruvian ambassador to the Philippines Felix Denegri said that Peru is actively seeking a bilateral agreement possibly involving free trade with the Philippines. PNA, Othel Campos

“We’re very serious to work with the Philippines but we still have to find areas [where we can] work. We will talk about improving bilateral relations,” he said.

One area that Peru is very keen on working with the Philippines is disaster management as well as trade relations.

“Disaster management is one area where we can improve on. We don’t have tsunamis or typhoons but have earthquakes,” Denegri said.

A major mining company using sustainable mining technology, Peru has been exporting copper to the Philippines. It also exports other mineral products, agriculture and fisheries to other markets in the region via its regional alliance with Latin American countries.

Denegri said the Pacific Alliance, composed of Peru, Chile, Mexico and Colombia, is also interested in forging more cooperation with Asean.

Latin American have long had trade agreement with the US and Europe and China, Japan and Korea in Asia.

The Philippines has received requests from Latin American nations like Mexico and Chile for possible free trade agreements.

Topics: Michelle Bachelet , Chilean President , APEC
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