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Philippines Engages US On TPP Membership

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

25 March 2014

The United States and the Philippines, during their recent meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreed to a program of expanded future engagement on bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade issues, and, in particular, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty.

The meetings, chaired by Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and Philippine Undersecretary of Trade Adrian Cristobal, recognized the considerable efforts the Philippines has made in strengthening its intellectual property regime. Negotiators in particular discussed trade in agricultural products, including rice and meat.

In response to the Philippines's interest in participating in the TPP, the extension of which is currently being negotiated, the US has also agreed to brief the Philippines on the goals and objectives that the twelve TPP countries are seeking to achieve.

The two sides have therefore begun a program of technical consultations to provide the Philippine government with the detailed information it will need to consider whether to join the TPP agreement.

In addition, the US and the Philippines agreed to intensify cooperation on US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (US-ASEAN) issues, and on the trade and investment agenda for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which the Philippines will host in 2015.

It was pointed out that the two countries meet regularly under the auspices of the TIFA, which is the coordinating mechanism for trade and investment policy discussions between the two Governments. In 2012, total goods trade between the US and the Philippines was about USD18bn, while their services trade exceeded USD6bn, both up 41 percent from 2009. US foreign direct investment in the Philippines is worth roughly USD5bn, and is concentrated in manufacturing.

TAGS: tax | trade treaty | Philippines | agreements | United States | trade | Asia-Pacific

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