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United States and Philippines Strengthen Engagement on Trade

Washington, D.C. -- The United States and the Philippines today held a meeting under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and agreed to expanded engagement in coming months.   The meeting, which were chaired by Director Christine Brown and Philippine Undersecretary of Trade Ceferino Rodolfo, included Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and other senior Philippine and U.S. officials from the trade, agriculture, customs, and intellectual property agencies.

The United States and the Philippines engaged on key bilateral issues, including investment, customs, intellectual property rights, and agricultural trade issues, and made plans to continue their dialogue on these issues.  These discussions built on earlier talks, including in the new TIFA Labor Committee, which held its first meeting early this month. 

The two teams also discussed the Philippine’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The United States briefed the Philippine officials in detail on key TPP chapters of interest, and reviewed plans for further technical consultations on TPP outcomes.

The United States and Philippines exchanged views on how to intensify cooperation on WTO, APEC, and ASEAN issues, including the WTO Information Technology Agreement Expansion and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, as well as a Philippine proposal in APEC on ways to continue to support micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises participation in international trade.  They agreed to work closely together to advance the trade and investment agenda for ASEAN, which the Philippines will host in 2017, including on the new U.S.-ASEAN Trade Workshops agreed by Ministers at the U.S.-ASEAN TIFA meeting held in San Francisco last month.

Background

The United States and the Philippines have had a close economic relationship for more than a century.  Total goods trade between the United States and the Philippines has continued to grow, reaching more than $18 billion last year, up 41 percent since 2009.  Services trade also is growing rapidly and exceeded $6.8 billion in 2014, also up 60 percent from 2009.