Duterte pushes for Philippine-US FTA
President Rodrigo Duterte has proposed for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the United States.
The Philippine leader pushed for the FTA during his 40-minute bilateral meeting on Monday with US President Donald Trump, who is in the country for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits.
"The Philippines is appreciative of the general system of preference and suggested that a free trade agreement also be concluded between the US and the Philippines," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
He said Trump told Duterte his government would study the matter.
Roque said the US leader also brought up the tariffs the Philippine government has been imposing on American automobiles contrary to that of the Japanese 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.
Tariffs on Japan-made vehicle parts, components and accessories have been cut to zero since 2014 following the issuance of Executive Order No. 157 by then President Benigno Aquino III.
EO 157 was in accordance with the provisions of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Roque said the two leaders also discussed about the business process outsourcing.
"It was observed that the BPO industry has become very important in the Philippines, and they will probably think of a way to reduce the trade surplus between the Philippines and the United States," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS