Manila expects export boost

Philippines hopes for Free Trade Pact with US

Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry has expressed hope for the start of formal negotiations for a free trade agreement with the United States in one to two years, noting that talks have so far remained “exploratory.”

During the Philippine-US Trade and Investment Forum on Tuesday, Lopez noted the advantages of a bilateral trade deal with the world’s largest economy, which would mean greater market access for both countries. “It might take one to two years to really see some great progress.”

According to, an FTA is seen to further reinforce bilateral economic ties for the two allies, which had a rather rocky start under the Duterte administration. But even without an FTA, a huge chunk of Philippine exports already enter the US market duty-free under the US Generalized System of Preferences program.

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