Trade Facilitation Protocol with Philippines Seen as Step Toward TPP Participation
The U.S. and the Philippines signed Nov. 13 an agreement that includes specific commitments on trade facilitation, including simplified customs procedures and transparency of customs administration. A press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative states that the agreement will promote increased bilateral trade, which totaled $20 billion in 2010.
USTR adds that the agreement can be “a building block” toward the Philippines’ participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, in which Manila has expressed interest, because it includes high standard commitments similar to those being negotiated in the TPP customs chapter. In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to visit the Philippines soon to launch the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, “an initiative aimed at supporting broad-based economic growth in the Philippines and policy reform in areas that would better position the Philippines to join the TPP in the future.”