The trade relationship between the Philippines and the United States is looking optimistic, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said after the two countries met earlier this week.
The USTR said representatives from both countries met on Tuesday, 11, in accordance with their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and reinforced the commitment “to foster free, fair, and balanced trade.”
During the meeting, the “elimination of trade barriers and promoting increased trade” was emphasized.
“This meeting was one of a series of bilateral meetings the United States has held with Asian trading partners in the past few months to advance the Trump administration’s goal of expanding trade ties with countries across the Asia-Pacific region,” the USTR said in a statement.
Accordingly, the Philippines and the U.S. agreed to work hand-in-hand in strengthening the U.S.- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade and investment agenda. The Philippines is this year’s chair of the ASEAN.
Officials also discussed regional and global trade developments, including the Philippines’ progress in implementing the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement Expansion and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and Philippine Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo presided the TIFA meeting, according to reports. Officials from various agencies both countries also joined the meeting.
According to the USTR, the U.S. has a $1.8-billion trade deficit with the Philippines, while bilateral trade in goods between the countries totaled $18.2 billion in 2016.
Last year, the Philippines ranked 31st on the list of the largest export market of the U.S. for goods. The U.S., meanwhile, was the third major trading partner, the second largest export market, and third top import supplier of the Philippines.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been vocal about forging closer economic ties with China and Russia, while seeking greater independence from a long-time ally, the U.S. The hostility toward America came under the leadership of then-U.S. President Barack Obama in which Duterte called “meddling” with the affairs of his country.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has promoted the ‘Buy American’ policy since taking office earlier this year. He also introduced a new approach which aims to expand trade in a way that is” freer and fairer for all Americans.” (AJPress)