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Philippines Eyes Intensified Economic Exchanges with Palau

PHILIPPINES - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that the Philippines is looking forward to do more economic interation with Palau, particularly on fisheries and aquaculture technology and development.

In her toast during the official luncheon banquet in honor of visiting Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr., the President said Palau, the Philippines ' closest neighbor, is among the most attractive dive spots in the world.

She pointed out that one area of economic interaction between the two countries is in fisheries development. Palau hosts two Filipino companies conducting joint fishing operations in the island republic.

The two Filipino firms support the food requirements of tourists from all over the world who troop to Palau to enjoy the country's famous dive spots.

"And we hope that we can soon forge a bilateral memorandum of understanding on fisheries cooperation so that this economic exchange will expand even more," the President said.

President Arroyo said President Remengesau is keen on learning from the Philippine experience in aquaculture development, particularly fish-cage technology, and grouper (lapu-lapu) and crab culture.

Groupers and crabs are very popular foodstuff among tourists visiting Palau.

The Philippines aquaculture industry has won recognition as one of the world's best. The country is 9th biggest producer of aquaculture products worldwide.

Ellen Hardy

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