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Meaningful Step in Elevating Trade Ties
HONOLULU, HAWAII – Today on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo signed a customs administration and trade facilitation agreement between the United States and the Philippines, demonstrating our countries’ commitment to improving our trade relationship. The agreement includes specific commitments on trade facilitation, including on simplified customs procedures and transparency of customs administration, which will promote increased bilateral trade, benefitting both the United States and the Philippines. The Philippines is already an important U.S. trading partner, with two-way goods and services trade last year of $20 billion.
“The Philippines is a vital market for U.S. exporters seeking to sell Made-in-America products overseas and support jobs here at home. This agreement is a meaningful step in our efforts to elevate the U.S.-Philippine trade relationship,” said Ambassador Kirk. “The commitments in this Protocol will provide transparency and consistency for our exporters, including small and medium-sized businesses. We hope this step will expand trade and boost job creation in both our countries.”
Also today, Ambassador Kirk briefed Secretary Domingo on progress being made in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, an ambitious regional agreement that the United States and eight other Asia-Pacific countries are negotiating and in which the Philippines has expressed interest. Conclusion of this customs administration and trade facilitation agreement can be a building block toward Philippine participation in the TPP; it includes high standard commitments similar to those being negotiated in the customs chapter of the TPP agreement. The two ministers also looked forward to Secretary Clinton’s upcoming visit to the Philippines to launch the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, an initiative aimed at supporting broad-based economic growth in the Philippines and policy reform in areas that would better position the Philippines to join the TPP in the future.
The United States and the Philippines maintain a strong trade dialogue under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the most recent meeting of which was held in Washington, DC, in September. Under the TIFA, U.S. and Philippine officials meet regularly to discuss ways to further build our bilateral economic relationship, address bilateral concerns, and coordinate on APEC, ASEAN, and WTO issues. Under President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the Partnership for Growth initiative provides a comprehensive framework for deepening and strengthening U.S. engagement with the Philippines to promote and support broad-based economic growth.