US and Philippines Strengthen Engagement on Trade
Officials of the United States and the Philippines met last week under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and agreed to work together to foster free, fair, and balanced trade between them, including by eliminating trade barriers and promoting increased trade.
This meeting was one of a series of bilateral meetings the United States has held with Asian trading partners in the past few months to advance the Trump administration’s goal of expanding trade ties with countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States had a $1.8 billion trade deficit with the Philippines in 2016. Two-way goods trade between them totaled $18.2 billion in 2016. In 2016, the Philippines was the United States’ 31st largest goods export market.
During the TIFA meeting, the United States and the Philippines had constructive discussions on outstanding bilateral trade issues, including related to agriculture, intellectual property protection, customs, investment, and other issues. Recognizing their shared interest in expeditiously addressing these issues, they agreed on follow-up actions and to closely monitor progress.
Officials also discussed regional and global trade developments, including the Philippines’ progress in implementing the WTO Information Technology Agreement Expansion and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. In addition, they agreed to work closely together to further the U.S.-ASEAN trade and investment agenda and efforts to make the Philippines’ year as ASEAN chair a success.
The TIFA meeting, which was chaired by Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and Philippine Undersecretary of Trade Ceferino Rodolfo, also included officials from a wide range of agencies. For the United States, participants included officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, and Commerce, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. For the Philippines, participants included officials from the Departments for Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Finance, and Labor and Employment, as well as from the Customs Bureau, Board of Investments, National Economic Development Authority, Intellectual Property Office, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and the Government Procurement and Policy Board.