PHL awaits opening up of TPP new membership

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Oct. 6 (PNA) — The Philippines has begun to discuss its strong interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with the deal’s negotiating parties, including the United States, as it awaits the opening up for new membership.

The US, Japan and 10 other countries in the Asia Pacific region on Monday reached final agreement on TPP, the world’s largest trade-liberalizing pact, which is currently closed to new entrants.

“We are definitely right there, we are waiting for it to open and as soon as it opens, we will start the discussions. But out of the 12 (negotiating parties), we have already sat down with at least six of them including the US,” said Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo in an open forum at the celebration of the Board of Investment’s 48th anniversary.

Domingo reiterated the Philippine interest in participating in the trade deal.

He said the country has already asked current TPP members about their policy in terms of admitting new members.

“They said they cannot entertain new ones until they conclude the agreement. They were clear as to what conclude means. Does that mean when everybody has signed actually the agreement or it has passed through parliamentary processes, or does it mean conclude as in like yesterday, what they announced that basically they were in agreement on this. So we will find it out soon,” added the trade chief.

The Philippines will need an endorsement from the 12 negotiating parties of the TPP to become a member of the deal.

The TPP is a mega regional trade agreement projected to account for roughly 40 percent of global gross domestic product and a third of world trade. (PNA)