MPC pool photo
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his economic officials proposed to United States President Donald Trump a free trade agreement (FTA) between their two countries during a meeting on Monday, November 13.
An FTA would be even more beneficial to the Philippine economy than its inclusion into the US' Generalized System of Preferences, America's oldest trade preference program which eliminates duties from thousands of products coming from over 100 beneficiary countries.
Filipino officials "suggested that a free trade agreement also be concluded between the US and the Philippines," according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
They reasoned to Trump that if the US can seal a free trade agreement with Vietnam and Japan, countries with which America has a history of conflict,"then there should be every reason for the US to conclude an FTA with the Philippines."
Trump, according to Roque, said he and US officials would study the matter.
The US has free trade agreements with only 20 countries, including the Philippines' neighbor in Southeast Asia – Singapore.
The officials at the bilateral meeting also discussed how the business process outsourcing industry has been such a boon to the Philippine economy.
Many American BPO companies have set up shop in various parts of the country. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.