GMA off to Switzerland, UAE; President to Attend World Economic Forum Meeting with Swiss Businessmen Set Tomorrow

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Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING

In her first foreign travel this year, President Arroyo leaves today for a hectic seven-day visit to Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to share the country's "economic success story" and attract more investments along the way.

Accompanied by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and several Cabinet members, the President is scheduled to leave at 12:30 p.m. today aboard a chartered plane flight to Zurich, Switzerland, her initial stopover in the week-long tour.

Before her flight, the President will convene a joint "Cabinet group" meeting in Malacanang of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the President has lined up a number of meetings with Swiss businessmen in Zurich to attract them into investing in the country before attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

He said the President is expected on Wednesday to address members of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce. Afterwards, she will meet with Dr. Stephen Zuellig of the Zuellig Group of Companies, and later the rest of his International Board of Advisors during her brief visit to Zurich, a major economic center of the Swiss Confederation.

From Zurich, the President would take a two- hour drive to the premier ski resort of Davos in eastern Switzerland to join other political and business leaders in the WEF, an annual convention of political, business and media leaders on global concerns.

Bunye said the President will be the main speaker at the plenary session on "The Emerging Asian Economy: Role of ASEAN."

During the WEF, she will also deliver an address on the "Gender Parity Group: Agenda for the Future," as as well as participate in a round-table talk with WEF governors on information and communications technology.

"The Davos Forum is an excellent opportunity for the President to discuss with world leaders the Philippines' point of view and approach in addressing issues, such as the global economy and world trade, the role and prospects of Asia within this framework, the impact of the sub-prime crisis, and the subsequent credit crunch, and the likely consequences of climate change and measures to limit its effects," Bunye said. …