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Washington, D.C. -- The United States and the Philippines today concluded a two-day meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), agreeing to a program of expanded engagement in coming months on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues. The meetings were chaired by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and Philippine Undersecretary of Trade Adrian Cristobal. In addition, senior officials from other agencies on both sides participated in the meeting, including Philippine Agriculture Department Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano and Edgardo Albon, Chairman of the Philippine Tariff Commission.
On bilateral issues, the United States recognized the considerable efforts the Philippines has made to strengthen its intellectual property regime and overall framework for protecting worker rights, two areas of focus of recent U.S.-Philippine cooperation. The two sides agreed to establish a new work program on labor affairs under the TIFA to further our efforts. In addition, the United States and Philippines held detailed discussions of agricultural trade, including related to rice and meat, and these discussions will continue in the coming weeks.
In response to Philippine interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the United States briefed the Philippines on the goals and objectives that the twelve TPP countries are seeking to achieve. The two sides began a program of technical consultations to provide the Philippine government the detailed information it will need to consider whether to seek to join the TPP agreement. The United States and Philippines also agreed to intensify cooperation on U.S.-ASEAN issues and on the trade and investment agenda for APEC, which the Philippines will host in 2015.
The United States and the Philippines have had a close trade relationship for more than a century. The two sides meet regularly under the auspices of the TIFA, which is the coordinating mechanism for trade and investment policy discussions between our two governments. Total goods trade between the United States and the Philippines is about $18 billion, up 41 percent since 2009. Services trade is growing rapidly and exceeded $6 billion in 2012, also up 41 percent from 2009. U.S. foreign direct investment in Philippines is roughly $5 billion, concentrated in manufacturing.