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August 11, 2008

Philippine Senate ready to ratify pact with Japan
The Senate leadership is set to approve the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Agreement (JPEPA) without conditions and is expected to immediately boost the

country’s sagging exports to Japan, reported local newspaper Manila Times Monday.

"When ratified, this will be the most important economic agreement the Philippines entered in 50 years," said Senator Miriam Santiago, committee on foreign relations chair.

She said direct benefits to the country would include more equity investments from Japan, opening of that nation to Philippine professional services exports, transfer of Japanese

technology to the Philippines and faster domestic economic growth as a result of increased trade and investments.

The last bilateral trade pact the Philippines had was with the United States under the Laurel-Langley agreement forged soon after independence in 1946. It was branded by Filipino

nationalists as a sell-out for giving Americans equal rights to enter into any kind of business in the Philippines. It expired in 1975.

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