Hu Jintao Arrives Today; Chinese President Due for 3-Day State Visit Trade Accords Worth $1.5 B to Be Signed

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Byline: DAVID CAGAHASTIAN

Chinese President Hu Jintao is arriving in Manila today for a three-day state visit which is expected to boost the diplomatic and economic relations between the Philippines and China.

President Hu is scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 6:50 p.m. today. His first official meeting will be tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8:45 a.m. in Malacanang where he will conduct a bilateral meeting with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the afternoon, Hu will address a joint session of Congress, then he will proceed to attend a state dinner in Malacanang at 7:15 p.m.

The state visit of the Chinese President is a reciprocal of the state visit by President Arroyo to Beijing last September 2004, and is the highlight of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China.

During the three-day state visit, Hu Jintao is expected to sign $1.5 billion worth of trade agreements with the Philippines, including several official development assistance (ODA) loans for infrastructure projects in the country and investments in the Philippine mining industry.

President Hu is also expected to push for the inclusion of the Philippines in the Early Harvest Program of the Chinese government that has long been delayed due to disagreements between the two countries on which products should be included in the tariff reduction scheme. …