U.S., Philippines See Progress on Trade Irritants
The U.S. and the Philippines announced Oct. 22 achievements under their trade and investment framework agreement that resolve several bilateral trade issues. The Philippines has been mentioned as a possible free trade agreement target of the Trump administration, which recently announced its intent to pursue FTAs with the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
Cold Chain. The two sides said they intend to collaborate on the development of cold chain (temperature-controlled supply chain) requirements and best practices in the Philippines, taking into account international guidelines and codes of practice regarding food hygiene adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The U.S. agreed to make its best efforts, subject to the availability of resources, to provide technical assistance to enhance cold chain development and management in the Philippines.
Agriculture. The Philippines committed to the expeditious consideration of petitions to extend its tariff rates on certain agricultural products, which are expected to contribute to stable prices for food products. It is also continuing to make efforts to ensure the WTO-consistent valuation of agricultural imports for duty collection purposes, including the enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies prohibiting the use of reference pricing.
The Philippines confirmed that it would not provide automatic protection of geographical indications, including to terms exchanged as part of a trade agreement, and committed to further discuss ways to ensure that its laws, regulations, and policies do not restrict or prohibit the entry of U.S. products into its market.
Automotive. The two sides pledged to cooperate on the implementation of a U.S. work program on automotive standards issues in the context of the ASEAN-U.S. TIFA. The Philippines said it would continue to accept vehicles that meet multiple high-standard automotive standards, such as the U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Other. Both governments agreed to a continued dialogue on priority issues of interest to both countries; e.g., relief for the Philippines from U.S. safeguard measures on solar cells and Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.