The international trade relationship between the US and the Philippines could be strengthened following positive discussions between representatives of the two nations.
A meeting was recently held under the countries' Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), chaired by Christine Brown, director for South-East Asia and Pacific affairs for the Office of the US Trade Representative, and Philippine undersecretary of trade Ceferino Rodolfo.
Officials from the trade, agriculture, customs and intellectual property agencies agreed to expand engagement between the two nations over the coming months, building on a close economic relationship encompassing more than $18 billion (£12.65 billion) in total goods trade last year.
Specific areas of focus included the Philippines' interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with US officials briefing their counterparts on key TPP chapters of interest and further technical consultations on outcomes.
Views were also exchanged on how to intensify cooperation on World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Association of Southeast Asian Nations issues, including the WTO Information Technology Agreement Expansion and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
A statement from the Office of the US Trade Representative said: "The US and the Philippines engaged on key bilateral issues - including investment, customs, intellectual property rights and agricultural trade issues - and made plans to continue their dialogue on these issues. These discussions built on earlier talks, including in the new TIFA Labor Committee, which held its first meeting early this month."
The US and the Philippines will now be working together to advance the trade and investment agenda for ASEAN, which the Philippines will host in 2017, including on the new US-ASEAN Trade Workshops agreed by ministers at a meeting held in San Francisco last month.
US-Philippines good trade has grown by 41 per cent since 2009, while services trade has expanded by 60 per cent over the same period.