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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Philippines fight over trade deal
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is keen for the deal to be ratified
The Philippine government is urging the country's senate to ratify a $4bn (2bn) trade deal with Japan, which it says may create more than 300,000 jobs.

The agreement, struck last year, would bolster local exports such as shrimp to Japan, the government said, a market being eyed by trading rival Thailand.

Japan has also pledged to employ at least 1,000 Philippine nurses.

But the opposition-dominated senate has objected with claims the deal would see toxic waste sent to the Philippines.

However, this has been denied by the government, which said that diplomatic notes had been exchanged stating that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessions.

The deal was originally struck last year by president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Since then a number of Japanese firms have expressed an interest in investing about $4bn in the Philippine economy, with food, automotive and textile industries among those being targeted.

Japan is currently the second largest buyer of produce such as bananas and pineapples from the Philippines, after the US.

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