Obama says US to work with PHL on TPP agreement process

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Nov. 18 (PNA) — United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday welcomed and expressed willingness to work with the Philippines interest to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Obama said he has already directed US Trade Ministers to initiate discussions about how TPP will be implemented among the original 12 countries and how his country can work with the Philippines relating to its interest in the agreement.

“TPP is designed to be an open and inclusive trade pact for countries that can meet its high standards,” he said during the joint press conference following the Philippine-US bilateral meeting held here.

Obama considered the TPP agreement a “pillar of America’s rebalance in the region.”

The US President made this assurance after Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III asked the US to assist the country in the TPP negotiating process.

“I conveyed the keen interest of the Philippines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and we hope that the United States, as one of our most important economic partners, can assist us in the process,” President Aquino said.

President Aquino also welcomed the continued strengthening of trade and investment relations between the Philippines and the US.

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

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.

President Obama is in Manila to attend the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting which kicked off on Wednesday. (PNA)