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Philippines, Canada forge closer economic, political tiesFriday, June 22, 2012 > 09:59:52
Xinhua | June 22, 2012 13:49
The Philippines and Canada formally launched on Friday the Joint Commission for Bilateral Consultation (JCBC) which will provide the roadmap for cooperation and further strengthen relations between the two countries.
Philippine Foreign Affairs secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the creation of the JCBC.
"The JCBC is a very important agreement, the first between our two countries in its 62 years of diplomatic relations," said del Rosario in a statement.
"It is designed to rev up the engine of our cooperation in the political, economic, and social fields, especially at time when Canada is intensifying its engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, " he added.
Baird said he hopes that the JCBC will result in "greater engagement" between Canada and the Philippines.
"It is a beginning and not an end that will usher greater engagement on a wide range of issues, the most important of which is the people-to-people linkages," he said.
"Philippines-Canada bilateral relationship remains vital, especially as Canada increases its engagement within Southeast Asia. For over 35 years, Canada has been a proud Dialogue Partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a member-state," Baird stressed.
Del Rosario said the Philippines is ready to contribute more to Canada's expanding economy by meeting its growing human resource requirements.
Meanwhile, Canada's Minister for International Trade Edward Fast announced that a Canadian business delegation will visit the Philippines in August to explore business and investment opportunities.
Aside from infrastructure projects under Manila's public- private partnership program, Fast said Canada is also keen on partnering with the Philippines for mining ventures.
Last year, Canada was ranked the Philippines' 19th largest trading partner, with total trade valued at 797.78 million US dollars. Exports of Philippine products to Canada were valued at 417.79 million US dollars.