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WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met today with Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo to discuss bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade issues and to open a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting, which will last through Friday. The Philippines is a key market in Southeast Asia for U.S. exporters of goods, services, and agricultural products. Two-way goods trade between the United States and Philippines totaled $15 billion in 2010. U.S. agricultural exports totaled $1.6 billion, making the Philippines the 11th largest agricultural export market of the United States. Services added another $4 billion to the bilateral trade relationship in 2009.
“The Philippines is an important friend, ally, and trading partner of the United States," said Ambassador Kirk. “Trade with the Philippines already supports thousands of jobs in both countries, and we have a strong shared commitment to working together to address outstanding issues and explore new trade and investment opportunities that can create even more jobs for our people.”
The meeting between Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Domingo opened a three-day program of discussions under the U.S.-Philippine TIFA, which will cover all aspects of the trade relationship. In addition to key outstanding bilateral issues, including agriculture, intellectual property, customs, and trade and labor, Ambassador Kirk emphasized the importance of expanding cooperation on APEC issues prior to the Leaders’ Summit in November.
Ambassador Kirk also 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, which the Philippines has expressed interest in potentially joining. The two countries also discussed the Partnership for Growth, an initiative aimed at supporting economic reform in the Philippines, including in areas that would help better position the Philippines to join the TPP in the future.
The TIFA is the main forum for trade dialogue between the United States and Philippines. U.S. and Philippine officials meet regularly throughout the year to discuss ways to build our bilateral economic relationship 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 new framework for deepening and strengthening U.S. engagement with the Philippines to promote and support broad-based economic growth.