Secretary Fred Pascual met with members of the US-APEC Business Coalition during his recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the 33rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.
The meeting discussed, among others, the Philippines’ priorities and programs to encourage more foreign investments and boost economic growth.
Pascual recognized that the United States remains among the top trade partners of the Philippines even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trade chief also stressed the need to reauthorize the General System of Preferences (GSP), and eventually a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the United States.
“We look forward to an FTA with the US which will serve as a more permanent mechanism to lock in market access interests and other binding commitments to expand bilateral trade and investment.”
“We look forward to an FTA with the US which will serve as a more permanent mechanism to lock in market access interests and other binding commitments to expand bilateral trade and investment,” the trade head said.
He emphasized the major economic reforms that the Philippines introduced to create a more conducive and transparent business environment, including the passage of the CREATE Act, the amendments to Foreign Investment Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Public Service Act, and the approval of the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan.
Supporting industry development initiatives, the Philippines also works to eliminate tariffs on electric vehicles (EVs), and the liberalization of the current investment regimes on solar, wind and tidal energy.
In the meeting, the Philippines’ participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was also highlighted.
“The IPEF is a mechanism that will provide more opportunities to cooperate on trade and investment.”
“The IPEF is a mechanism that will provide more opportunities to cooperate on trade and investment,” Pascual noted.
He further expressed that the Philippines is keen to tap into grants, support or procurement opportunities to complement industry development initiatives of the country.
On behalf of the US-APEC Business Coalition, Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, US-ASEAN Business Council, expressed his appreciation to the Secretary for his support and proactive engagement in addressing the needs of the business sector.
Michalak expressed his intention to continue working with the Philippines, especially on creative industry and other key sectors where the Philippines and the US are mutually involved and have interests in.
Pascual was joined in the meeting by Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty, Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda, Assistant Director Marie Sherylyn Aquia, and Commercial Counselor Althea Karen Antonio.