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29/11/2017: PH, US PURSUE EXPANDED TIES IN ECON CONFAB

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-79-2017
29 November 2017

The Philippines and the United States engage in a wide-ranging discussion in an informal meeting under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) held on 29 November 2017 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Philippines and the United States engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of bilateral economic issues, including a proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement, in a meeting under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) held on 29 November 2017 in Washington, D.C.

“This TIFA meeting came barely a fortnight after the successful bilateral meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and US President Donald J. Trump in Manila, where the two leaders affirmed their commitment to further deepen the extensive United States-Philippines economic relationship. This early follow-up is a clear demonstration of the two countries’ shared resolve to enhance our long-standing partnership for mutual prosperity,” stated Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.

“Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano gave me explicit instructions to build on his recent visit to Washington, together with the Philippine economic managers, and to follow-up on our mutual efforts to advance the core economic interests of the Philippines and the United States. I find it auspicious, therefore, that we had a productive and frank TIFA meeting with the US side on my first official day as Philippine Ambassador to the United States,” added Ambassador Romualdez who had just presented his letters of credence at the White House on 29 November.

The Philippine delegation to the TIFA meeting was led by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, and composed of DTI Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Rosario D. Robeniol, and other senior officials from DTI, Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, National Economic & Development Authority, Department of Labor, Department of Information & Communications Technology, and the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.

In their opening remarks, Undersecretary Rodolfo and Acting Assistant US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Karl Ehlers welcomed the opportunity to provide substantive action to the pledge of Presidents Duterte and Trump to nurture the economic ties between the Philippines and the United States. They noted that this was the second TIFA meeting between the two countries for 2017.

First held in 2002, the annual TIFA meeting is a consultative mechanism established by the Philippines and the United States to periodically review the status of the bilateral economic relationship. It provides a forum to address specific issues and concerns of interest to both countries with a view to improving cooperation and enhancing opportunities for trade and investments.

“The storyline of Philippines-US TIFA meetings has always been about working together constructively in order to address outstanding issues and mutually benefit from various opportunities. Under the leadership of Presidents Duterte and Trump, it is an excellent forum for discussing ways to expand on our two countries’ mutual commitment to free, fair, and balanced trade that increases economic opportunity for all,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said in a statement following the meeting.

“Building on the productive bilateral meeting of our leaders in Manila recently, we have also begun discussions on negotiating and concluding a possible bilateral free trade agreement with the United States,” Undersecretary Rodolfo added.

The US is the third biggest trading partner of the Philippines in 2016 (out of 226 trading partners), and its second biggest market for exports (almost 16% of total PHL exports), and third largest investor into the country. An FTA provides certainty to reduced or eliminated tariffs for Philippine exports, including those already entering the US market under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. It also provides more economic incentives that will allow the Philippines to remain an attractive place for investors to build, invest and start businesses.

The meeting was a follow-up to the formal TIFA meeting in Manila last July. It also provided an opportunity for both sides to review outstanding issues and provide updates, particularly on those affecting market access for Philippine and US exports of goods and services. The delegations likewise discussed the role of the US GSP program in promoting and increasing the competitiveness of Philippine products in the US market.

The next TIFA meeting is expected to be held in Manila in 2018. ###

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC - 113 - 2017
29 November 2017


Acting Assistant US Trade Representative Karl Ehlers welcomes participants to the informal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting between the Philippines and the United States held in Washington, DC on 29 November 2017.

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC - 114 - 2017
29 November 2017

Philippine Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo heads the Philippine Delegation to the informal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting between the Philippines and the United States in Washington, DC on 29 November 2017.