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MANILA: French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrived in the country yesterday for a three-day visit, the first by a French leader since the Philippines forged diplomatic ties with France 65 years ago.
Ayrault met with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III for talks on strengthening the two countries’ economic and political ties as well as regional and multilateral ties.
He was accompanied by a 130-member delegation consisting of ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen.
Businessmen from France will participate in a Philippine-French business forum today. The forum is expected to highlight business opportunities in the Philippines.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said several business contracts will be signed and announced during the forum.
Leading global French companies have also expressed interest in participating in bidding for projects under the Philippine government’s Public-Private Partnership programme.
Total bilateral trade between the Philippines and France amounted to $1.14bn in 2011.
Last year, French investments in the Philippines went up by 90 percent on year to P1.14bn ($277.44m).
The Philippine star