Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the first Southeast Asian leader to visit President Obama. Fresh from her meeting with the President, she jetted to the Big Apple where she gave an exclusive interview to Maria on Saturday morning.
This is the second time Maria has met President Arroyo. Maria first met with her in Russia at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forumdiscussing the global economic crisis. President Arroyo is a petite woman with a big personality.
President Arroyo said the meeting with President Obama was a fruitful meeting. “Very high on our agenda was peace and security, including cooperation and counter-terrorism”, Arroyo said. She also met with lawmakers and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, where they discussed trade and the issue of protectionism. President Arroyo said that “trade can enhance recovery rather than jeopardize it” and that it should be a “win-win solution.”
Like many other Asian nations, the Philippine economy is dependent on exports but the country has managed to maintain positive GDP growth even in the face of the global recession. First quarter growth slowed to 0.4% year-on-year while its neighbors in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore reported negative growth. President Arroyo attributes part of that to the large amount of remittances that overseas Filipinos send home. Remittances account for 10% of GDP and in May, it hit a record of $1.48B!
Our interview comes at a time when the country is mourning the death of former President Corazon Aquino. President Arroyo served under the Aquino administration, as the Assistant Secretary of Trade and Industry and says “she (Aquino) presided over the most important historical event in our country in the last 100 years.”
Program Alert: For more on Maria’s exclusive interview with the Philippine President, tune in to the Closing Bell at 440pm ET today.
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