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Talks are ongoing for possible PHL-US free trade pact —envoy

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GMA News Online - 7 February 2019

Talks are ongoing for possible PHL-US free trade pact —envoy
By Ted Cordero, GMA News

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim is positive that Washington and Manila can forge a free trade agreement (FTA) as both countries continue holding dialogues on strengthening bilateral trade relations.

The US envoy also noted both countries made significant progress in solving longstanding bilateral trade issues under the 1989 Philippine-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

“Both sides are continuing discussions on how best to move forward in expanding the bilateral relationship,” Kim said on the sidelines the US-Philippines Bilateral Relationship conference in Makati City Thursday.

In October 2018, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer issued a joint statement announcing achievements in resolving bilateral trade issues that included:

  • US market access for mango, young green coconuts, and carrageenan
  • Expanding the Generalized System of Preferences Program to include travel goods
  • Developing cold chain facilities in the Philippines
  • Efforts to ensure World Trade Organization-consistent valuation of farm imports
  • Philippine commitment to continue accepting vehicles that meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • Even though there is no deadline for the US and Philippines to reach a free trade pact, what is “important is both sides are interested and continuing our discussions,” Kim noted.

US goods exported to the Philippines amounted to $8.3 billion, while the corresponding imports from the Philippines totaled $10 billion, according to a 2017 report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The Philippines was the United States’ 31st largest goods export market in 2016. —VDS, GMA News

 source: GMA News Online