MANILA, Jan. 14 -- Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien ('JAHN CRAY-tee-ehn') has arrived in the Philippines for a three-day official visit aimed at enhancing trade and business ties between the two countries. Chretien is accompanied Tuesday by premiers of Canada's 10 provinces as well as 300 business delegates, who are expected to sign joint- venture deals with Philippine companies.
The Canadian was among 17 Pacific Rim leaders who attended the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Philippines last November. During the visit, President Fidel Ramos will formally turn over APEC's chairmanship to Canada, which will host next year's summit in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ramos and Chretien are expected to discuss ways to increase economic cooperation between their countries and encourage greater ties between Canadian and Philippine businesses. The government says the two leaders also will talk about APEC during their meeting. Trade between Canada and the Philippines has grown almost sixfold since 1985, reaching more than $800 million in 1996. Canada also has become one of the top 10 investors in the Philippines, with direct investments at $1 billion. Cultural ties between the two countries also has grown in recent years with about 280,000 native Filipinos living in Canada, including Parliament member Rey Pagtakhan, who will receivean award as an Outstanding Overseas Filipino. ---
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