Trump commits to study trade deal between US, PH
US President Donald Trump yesterday promised to study the proposal for the United States to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the American leader had promised to study the trade proposal during his 40-minute bilateral meeting with President Duterte on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.
“The Philippines is appreciative of the General System of Preference (GSP) and suggested that a free trade agreement also be concluded between the US and the Philippines,” Roque said.
“President Trump said that they will study the matter,” he added.
Roque said Mr. Trump also noted that Japanese cars were coming into the country duty-free while there were tariffs on imported American cars.
“President Trump singled out the issue on tariffs being imposed on US automobiles while these tariffs are not being imposed on Japanese cars,” Roque said.
“It was observed that the BPO (business processing outsourcing) industry has become very important to the Philippines, and they will probably think of a way to reduce the trade surplus between the Philippines and the United States,” he added.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said that it was time for Manila and Washington to have an FTA.
He noted that the US was discussing having FTAs with Japan, South Korea, and even Vietnam, but not with its old ally, the Philippines.
“If we are to level up and upgrade our arrangement, what we want to discuss and explore already is an FTA with the US,” Lopez said.
“We said they’ve been talking to other countries about FTA anyway. They’re talking to Japan, Korea and Vietnam. So, we said the Philippines is their long-time friend and ally,” he said.
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