Trump wel­comes pos­si­ble PH-US free trade deal: DTI

Sun.Star Davao - - BUSINESS -

MANILA -- US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has wel­comed the sug­ges­tion of the Philippine gov­ern­ment to have a free trade agree­ment (FTA) be­tween the Philip­pines and the US, Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez told re­porters.

In a text mes­sage, Lopez said the Philip­pines was able to raise to Trump and his del­e­ga­tion that the two coun­tries can fur­ther boost trade with an FTA.

“We en­joy a lit­tle trade sur­plus and we ac­knowl­edged US sup­port via GSP (Gen­er­al­ized Sys­tem of Pref­er­ences) and the re­cent in­clu­sion of travel goods [in the GSP],” said Lopez.

The DTI chief was also in the room dur­ing the bi­lat­eral meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte and Trump here Mon­day on the side­lines of the 31st Asean Sum­mit and Re­lated Sum­mits.

“And that we wish to el­e­vate the trade ar­range­ments to start ex­plor­ing the FTA with US,” Lopez added.

“Pres­i­dent Trump wel­comed the sug­ges­tion and said they will con­sider ex­ploratory talks on FTA,” he said.

Philippine Statis­tics Au­thor­ity data showed that two-way trade be­tween the Philip­pines and the US in Jan­uary to Septem­ber 2017 reached USD12.18 bil­lion. Philippine ex­ports to the US in the third quar­ter this year rose 5.2 per­cent to USD7.04 bil­lion from USD6.68 bil­lion in 2016, mak­ing the US the coun­try’s sec­ond largest ex­port des­ti­na­tion next to Ja­pan.

In­ward ship­ment of US prod­ucts to the coun­try, on the other hand, de­clined by 7.3 per­cent to USD5.15 bil­lion in the first nine months of the year from USD5.55 bil­lion in the same pe­riod of 2016.

The US is the Philip­pines' fourth largest im­port source dur­ing the Jan­uary to Septem­ber 2017 pe­riod.

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