Once concluded, a free trade agreement with the Philippines will be the second largest in Southeast Asia after an agreement with Singapore. “As you know, we were also open to that,” he added. “They have not set a timetable (for the next round of negotiations), but with their new Trade Commissioner, we will now see their priorities.” The trade chief said the Philippines was a committed part of the comprehensive regional economic partnership, a multilateral trade pact for the Asia-Pacific region, which includes China, India and Japan. ASEAN Merchandise Trade Agreement The 2010 ASEAN Goods Trade Agreement (ATIGA) consolidated all commitments of the ASEAN Effective Customs Free Trade Area (CEPT/AFTA) for merchandise trade. It aims to create an internal market and a production base with the free movement of goods in the ASEAN region, an important part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). ATIGA includes tariff liberalization, initiatives to facilitate trade, simplification of rules of origin and the creation of an ASEAN trade register. Visit investasean.asean.org/ for up-to-date information on ASEAN trade. Manila hopes to revive the apparel industry through a permanent customs agreement, says the Trade Minister, that nearly 18 percent of Philippine exports to the United States are already exempt from tariffs under the GSP system. However, this benefit is not permanent, it is subject to an annual review. It also does not cover many goods of interest to the Philippines as well as services. Two initial consultations have taken place, but the process will not officially begin until President Trump informs the U.S. Congress of his intention to negotiate a free trade agreement with the Philippines.

Philippines – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement The Philippines and Japan concluded a free trade agreement in 2008. The VPA is the Philippines` only bilateral free trade agreement covering, among other things, trade in goods, trade in services, investment, personal transport, intellectual property, customs procedures, improving the business environment and public procurement. “The advantage is that a free trade agreement will give us a longer-term horizon in terms of trade relations with the United States.