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NEWS UPDATES 2 August  2010

Philippines trade deals with the U.S. and South Koreas

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THE Philippines plans bilateral trade accords with the U.S and South Korea, according to Trade Assistant Secretary Ramon Vicente Kabigting.

Kabigting said that Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo would go to the U.S before President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd’s state visit on September to explore talks for a trade pact with the world’s biggest economy.

“We will engage with the US, whether bilateral or cluster FTAs that are grouping various members of APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation],” Kabigting said “As old partners, both sides are willing to engage,” he said. Kabigting also said that the Philippines would study prospects of pursuing an FTA with South Korea.

He told the forum that the new South Korean ambassador last week met with Domingo, as traders of Korean vehicles are eyeing increased exports to the Philippines.

The traders wish to compete with Japan-made vehicles that are entering the Philippines at reduced tariffs under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

“South Korea has proposed [allowing increased] movement of people [Filipino workers] to their country. But we will study first if [a bilateral trade agreement with South Korea is] worth it,” Kabigting said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), of which the Philippines is a member, has a regional trade agreement with South Korea.

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