The Philippines aims to hold technical consultations with member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the first half of 2016, Trade Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.
These countries include Japan and the United States, Rodolfo said.
He noted that possible technical discussions with the US would be rooted from a statement by US President Barack Obama during his visit in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
Obama welcomed the Philippines’ interest in joining the TPP and instructed the US Trade Representative to talk with the Trade department to identify steps that will help TPP access once the group opens its membership, Rodolfo said.
The Philippines has conducted technical consultations with Malaysia, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Canada.
“It’s possible that we’ll have another technical discussion among these six countries,” Rodolfo added.
“We are way more than the first step,” he pointed out, noting that the Philippines is the only country to have conducted technical consultations with TPP members.
The Philippines sees the TPP as a strategy to having a free trade agreement with the US—one of the its largest trade and investment partners.