MANILA, Philippines - The country's top businessmen are accompanying President Benigno Aquino on his state visit to China, in hopes of clinching major business deals.
Aquino, who leaves for Beijing Tuesday evening, is seeking to increase trade with China and attract more Chinese investments to the Philippines.
The 200-strong business delegation includes includes some of the most powerful and influential names in Philippine business such as PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philippine Airlines chairman Lucio Tan, JG Summit Holdings chairman John Gokongwei, Metrobank founder George S.K. Ty, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang and Banco de Oro Unibank chairman Teresita Sy-Coson.
Other business leaders who are also going to China are Sycip Gorres Velayo and Company founder Washington Sycip, Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong, Alliance Group chairman Andrew Tan, Aboitiz Equity Ventures president Erramon Aboitiz, Zest-O chairman Alfredo Yao, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Francis Chua, Liwayway Marketing Corp. founder Carlos Chan, PCCI Council of Business Leaders chairman Jose Pardo, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Tan Ching and Nabasan Subic Development Corp. chairman Antonio Cojuangco.
Cabinet members such as Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Roasrio, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas and Presidential Spokeman Edwin Lacierda will also be traveling with the President.
These businessmen will be attending the state banquet hosted by the Chinese government for the President.
Aquino will be visiting in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen through September 5. He will have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing, followed by the signing of economic agreements. There will also be a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and legislators, including Wu Bangguo, chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress.
In Shanghai, the President will meet with local officials and major business groups and sign agreements aimed to boost trade ties. He will also hold a meeting with the Filipinos who are based in this premier economic hub.
Malacañang earlier said it is targeting $2 billion alone in concrete investments from the China visit. -- with reports from Willard Cheng and RG Cruz