Manila, Philippines– Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish on May 23, 2018 met with senior Philippine economic ministers, U.S. and Philippine business leaders, and Philippine Senators to discuss trade and investment issues and ways to enhance the bilateral economic relationship.
The visit follows up on the November 2017 meeting between President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, during which the United States welcomed Philippine interest in deepening the bilateral trade relationship through consideration of a potential free trade agreement (FTA).
In meetings with Philippine Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez, Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez, and Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Pinol, Ambassador Gerrish highlighted the long-standing importance of the U.S.-Philippine trade relationship and emphasized the importance of U.S. participation in Philippine infrastructure projects getting underway.
As an outcome of the meetings, the United States and the Philippines agreed to further cooperation under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to resolve outstanding priority market access issues and to consider next steps.
“President Trump has made clear his commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and the United States values our very important trade relationship with the Philippines,” said Ambassador Gerrish. “Greater engagement on trade and investment will benefit both countries, and we look forward to resolving outstanding issues and exploring the best arrangement for strengthening and expanding our trade relations.”
Ambassador Gerrish also met with Philippine Senators and leaders of the U.S. business community in the Philippines, including the American Chamber of Commerce, to obtain their views on ways to strengthen trade opportunities in the Philippine market.
The Philippines is currently the United States’ 31st largest goods trading partner. In 2017, bilateral U.S. goods trade with the Philippines was $20.1 billion, with U.S. exports of $8.5 billion and U.S. imports from the Philippines of $11.6 billion. The United States goods trade deficit with Philippines was $3.2 billion in 2017. U.S. services exports to Philippines totaled $2.6 billion, while U.S. services imports from Philippines amounted to $6.1 billion in 2016 (latest data available). The United States services trade deficit with the Philippines was $3.5 billion.