PH eyes stronger ties with US through more FTAs

PH eyes stronger ties with US through more FTAs

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The Philippines aims to implement measures to strengthen trade ties with the United States, considering the country’s upbeat trade performance in 2017, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA director general Ernesto M. Pernia, in his presentation to the U.S.-Philippines Society Board of Directors’ Meeting on February 19, highlighted the intention of the Philippines to keep its current trade with the U.S. in positive territory and further improve trade between both countries.

“We have a positive trade balance with the U.S., and we want to keep it that way,” the NEDA official said.

Pernia added that there is a need to discuss and explore more free trade agreements (FTAs) with the U.S. to foster investment opportunities.

“Even though we already have a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the U.S., it is still important to establish an FTA to gain access for more exports from the Philippines to the U.S. market,” Pernia said.

He identified food production, agriculture, renewable energy, and services as sectors that can be further explored as trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

Pernia added that opening up more sectors to foreign investments and amending the Public Service Act to engender competition and improve information and communications technology infrastructure would open up more trade opportunities in education, telecommunications, transportation, and construction.

“Now is an opportune time to strengthen ties with our foreign partners,” Pernia said, emphasizing the recovery of global trade as an opportunity for Philippine exports to grow.

From January to November 2017, Philippine exports to the U.S. registered US$8.5 billion while imports registered $6.4-billion.

Among the top Philippine exports to the U.S. were semiconductors, garments, manufactures, electronics, and electronic data processing, all of which accounted for 56.9% of total exports to the U.S. from January to November 2017.

Top imports from the U.S. were telecommunications equipment and electronic machinery, materials and accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment, animal feeds, wheat, and aircraft, ships, and boats, all of which accounted for 54.9% of total registered imports for the same period.

Meanwhile, investment commitments of the U.S. reached P5.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2017, focusing mainly on administrative and support activities and manufacturing.

Image courtesy of PaulR at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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