Stronger PH-France ties seen after French premier’s visit–DFA

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French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault peeks out from a “jeepney” window as he travels from the Sto. Niño Church to the provincial capitol of Cebu on Sunday, October 21.  AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said that stronger ties could be expected between the Philippines and France following French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s first visit to Manila.

“The political goodwill and the economic gains achieved by the first visit of a French head of government augur well for stronger and deeper partnership between the Philippines and France,” the DFA said in a statement.

Ayrault and his 130-member delegation were in the country last week for a three-day visit.

Ayrault’s visit was the first of a top French leader since diplomatic ties were established between France and the Philippines 65 years ago.

In its statement, the DFA noted that the Philippines-France Business Forum, which brought together key businessmen from France and the Philippines, was a success.

They said that the French businessmen gave a positive outlook for the Philippine economy and expressed interest for business opportunities in the country.

It said that Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo met with his French counterpart Minister for External Trade Nicole Bricq at the sidelines of the forum and discussed ways on further accelerating two-way trade and investments between the countries.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, meanwhile, had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Ayrault to discuss economic ties.

It said the meeting followed the signing of a commercial contract between Philippine Airlines and Airbus for the purchase of 10 planes, and a distributorship agreement between French carmaker Peugeot and Columbia Motors, Inc.

It also said that sustained cooperation and heightened cultural cooperation exchanges between the two countries were “very promising” with the signing of the agreement. to hold a Grand Exhibition of the Philippines at the Musée du Quai Branly, France’s premiere museum on indigenous art and culture. The event would be held from April 9 to July 21, 2013.

“The exhibition will put the Philippines on the cultural map of France and is expected to attract thousands of visitors from Europe and other parts of the world,” it said.

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