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Philippines, Canada talk about free trade agreement

Staff writer |
President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to explore the possibility of forging a free trade agreement.

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Both leaders witnessed the signing of a letter of intent to launch exploratory discussions on a "mutually beneficial" and "comprehensive" free trade agreement between Canada and the Philippines.

In a joint press briefing, Aquino said he hoped such an agreement would "broaden the horizon of meaningful opportunities for our citizens and our region."

Harper noted that "the Philippines is a regional leader and a designated priority market for Canada. Our government has worked to strengthen this relationship with special emphasis on trade, security and people to people ties."

Both countries also agreed to work on updating their foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. It was announced that Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast would lead a mission to Manila later this month to firm this up.

Trade between the two countries is currently close to $2 billion.

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