MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines doesn’t want to be left out of a free trade agreement between the United States and 10 other countries, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In a statement on Monday, March 18, the Philippine embassy in the United States said Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. outlined Manila’s desire to join the TPP in his presentation at Georgetown University on Thursday, March 14.
The United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are the current parties negotiating the TPP to eliminate trade barriers in the Asia-Pacific region. While the Philippines does not have a seat at the negotiating table yet, the country has drawn up a roadmap that it hopes will lead to its inclusion.
“The roadmap to the TPP reflects the Philippine Government’s interest in joining after it has undertaken adequate preparations for the commitments required under the agreement,” Ambassador Cuisia said, as he echoed President Aquino’s instructions to look into how the Philippines could become part of the proposed free trade area that will account for 40% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
Cuisia said the roadmap prepared by the Department of Trade and Industry is focused on:
- Involving stakeholder engagement in trade policy-making
- Trade policy research
- Enhanced interagency cooperation
Cusia said he also wants to see the Philippines join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an initiative led by the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which excludes the United States but includes China and 5 other countries as dialogue partners.
“RCEP and TPP are mutually-reinforcing tracks for regional integration,” said Cuisia, as he laid out the steps the Philippines must take to not be the odd man out in these trade agreements. – Rappler.com