U.S. trade data showed that the Philippines is currently the 31st largest trading partner, with total merchandise trade of $21.3 billion starting in 2018. The Philippines is the next to conclude a free trade agreement with the United States, the world`s largest economy. Ebb Hinchliffe, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), told Philippine media late last week that U.S. trade agents would consider waterproofing a free trade agreement with the Philippines ahead of proposed trade deals with the U.K. and Vietnam. However, since President Trump took office, the United States has shifted its trade policy from multilateral and regional trade agreements to bilateral trade agreements. In short, the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and imposed retaliatory duties on a large number of goods to impose concessions on their unfair trade practices. It blocked the appointment of members of the WTO appeal body, which ultimately led to the suspension of the WTO`s dispute settlement system. China`s massive trade surplus with the United States has made it the main concern of this “fair and reciprocal bilateral trade policy.” The U.S.-China trade dispute is intensifying and affecting global economic growth. Philippines – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement The Philippines and Japan concluded a free trade agreement in 2008. The VPA is the Philippines` only bilateral free trade agreement covering, among other things, trade in goods, trade in services, investment, personal transport, intellectual property, customs procedures, improving the business environment and public procurement.
In February, six Democratic senators called on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to suspend the Philippine GSP because of President Duterte`s human rights record. They said that the granting of commercial privilege could be confused in the face of extrajudicial executions under Duterte, if bloodshed is tolerated. “I would say with confidence that there will be a free trade agreement between the United States and the Philippines,” he said. “I hope it will be some time in 2020, but it could be until 2021.” For Washington, Lopez agreed that this was not the best time to take a big step forward in possible trade negotiations with the current attitude of the U.S. Congress toward Philippine officials. In October 2018, Lopez and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that bilateral trade issues between the two countries had been resolved under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Despite the rhetoric, President Trump`s United States still needs to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement to complement the current 20.
In fact, he had some of them checked, including the one with South Korea. It is therefore surprising that President Trump, during a visit to the Philippines in November 2017, announced that he and President Duterte had agreed to negotiate a free trade agreement. Given the current global trading environment – increasing protectionism and the trade war between the United States and China – it would appear that the Philippines would benefit from such an agreement by giving it a competitive footing with its competitors. The United States is the country`s second largest trading partner after ASEAN, with total trade of about $30 billion. Based on USTR archives, merchandise trade between Manila and Washington reached $21.4 billion last year. Shipments to the United States were $12.8 billion, while imports were $8.6 billion. As a result, the Philippines maintained a merchandise surplus of at least $4 billion. “The end of the trade war will reduce national risks in Southeast Asia. Improved U.S.-China trade would mean better exports for the Philippines, as pay