RP seeks US support for membership in Trans-Pacific Partnership

September 25, 2010 11:34 am 

MANILA, Sept. 24 — The Philippines seeks the support of the United States in its bid to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement formed with the objective of creating a platform for promoting economic integration among nations in the Asia-Pacific region, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Thursday afternoon in New York (Friday morning in Manila).

In his speech at the Council of Foreign Relations at the CFR Auditorium in New York City, President Aquino said the country is "positioning" itself to join the TPP by laying out the tenets that will mark the new Philippines: good governance, employment generation, quality education, improved public health and a home for every family, within safe communities.

President Aquino is in New York for a week-long visit.

"With keen interest, we note the Obama administration's focus in negotiating a regional Asia-Pacific trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement," President Aquino said.

"Envisioned as a platform for economic integration across the region, the TPP countries would be in a best place to become the region's leading hub for trade, investment and growth," he also said.

President Aquino said that by being a member of the TPP, "The Philippines aims to engage the US in joint trade initiatives that would serve as mutual building blocks."

"Just like other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, the Philippines is already positioning itself as a viable member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership," the President said.

"We seek US support for this as we recognize its leadership role as host of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Community) in 2011," he said.

The TPP aims to eliminate 90 percent of all tariffs among member countries — Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam — by January 1, 2006 and reduce all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.

It is a comprehensive agreement covering all the mainstays of a free trade agreement, including trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/ssc

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