Saudi investment group coming to the Philippines

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PIA Press Release | 2009/02/05

Manila (5 February) -- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday that he is sending a high-level business mission to the Philippines in April to look for investment opportunities in the Philippine agriculture sector.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said Saudi Arabia manifested its intention to expand its investments in the Philippines during an ambush interview last night (Tuesday) at the Filipino community reception held at the Gulf International Hotel convention center here in Manama.

Yap, who, together with Labor Secretary Marianito Roque and Trade Secretary Peter Favila accompanied the President in her two-day working visit to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, said the business mission will be headed by Saudi Arabia's ministers of commerce and agriculture.

The President and her lean official party, arrived Monday in Riyadh from Milan, Italy after attending the 2009 World Economic Forum (WFF) in Davos, Switzerland to check the working and living conditions of more than a million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Yap said the Saudi monarch has formed an inter-agency committee composed of the ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture, commerce and industry to come up with an investment program for agriculture in foreign countries, especially in the Philippines.

Yap explained that these investments in agricultural projects in foreign countries are aimed to meet Saudi Arabia's increasing demand for fruits, vegetables and livestock.

He added that Saudi officials have expressed their strong intention to invest in the Philippines because the President enjoys a "high level of credibility and rapport" with leaders of the Gulf states.

The Saudi government has already forged an investment agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the establishment of a five-star hotel, Raffles and Fairmont, on Ayala in Makati City.

While in Davos, Switzerland last week, the governor of the Saudi investment authority requested a meeting with the President to discuss possible investments in the Philippines.

Yap said the Philippine government expects to finalize the proposed investment agreements when the Saudi ministers of agriculture and commerce arrive in the country this coming April.

[farmland component confirmed here]
Original source: PIA Press Release
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