Philippines to strengthen trade ties with US

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

For all the criticism and harsh words that President Duterte had said against the United States, the Philippines is still determined to maintain strong trade ties with the US, which had been positive and favorable in recent years.

 

This, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, would be the guidepost of the country in its relations with America considering the upbeat trade performance in 2017.

 

In his presentation to the U.S.-Philippines Society Board of Directors’ Meeting on Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia 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 (FTA) 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.

 

Areas to be boosted

 

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 ICT infrastructure would open 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.

 

Exports

 

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

 

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

 

Imports

 

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

 

Investments

 

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.

 

The US-Philippines Society Board of Directors’ Meeting provided a venue to promote trade and investment ties after the meeting of Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump last November 2017.

 

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