Nurture economy, US Treasury exec urges PH

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05:12 AM September 20th, 2013

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By: Tarra Quismundo, September 20th, 2013 05:12 AM

US Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development Marisa Lago PHOTO FROM TREASURY.GOV

MANILA, Philippines—A United States Treasury official has commended the Philippines’ recent strong economic showing, and encouraged the government to sustain the momentum by nurturing a business environment conducive to investment.

Marisa Lago, assistant secretary for international markets and development at the US Department of the Treasury, was in Manila this week for high-level talks with Philippine economic and finance officials aimed at enhancing the longstanding cooperation between the two countries.

“Strong economic leadership in the Philippines is helping to ensure that the reform momentum is sustained,” Lago said in a statement.

“The Philippines has an exceptional opportunity to sustain robust growth by attracting higher levels of foreign direct investment,” she added.

Lago met with top government officials, including Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Bangko Sentral Gov. Amando Tetangco and other senior economic officials. She also met with business leaders and US Ambassador Harry Thomas.

“These meetings focused on the government’s economic reform agenda, recent macroeconomic developments, and the Aquino administration’s vision to further economic growth. During these meetings, Assistant Secretary Lago also reaffirmed [the US] Treasury’s support for the Partnership for Growth, including assistance by [the] Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

Partnership for Growth is a US Department of State program that seeks to promote closer coordination between the US and selected partner countries through “joint analysis of constraints to growth, the development of joint action plans to address these constraints, and high-level mutual accountability for implementation.”

Lago also visited the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters here and met with the bank’s officials including president Takehiko Nakao and executive director Ambassador Robert M. Orr.

She also visited ADB-assisted community programs in Cavite and observed the government’s implementation of the conditional cash transfer program.

Lago was en route to Indonesia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) finance ministers meeting ahead of the Apec Leaders Summit scheduled on Oct. 6 to 8.

Her visit coincided with the arrival this week of representatives from 14 US environment and energy firms, the largest US trade mission to come to Manila in years. The trade delegation was scheduled to be in Manila on Sept. 19 and 20.

The Philippines and the US have maintained steady trade ties in the last century, with total bilateral trade volume estimated at $22 billion in 2011.

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