• PH-US trade unhurt by Duterte outbursts

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    Trade relations between the Philippines and the United States remain healthy despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s outbursts against Washington, economists told The Manila Times.

    “If the foreign relations are leaning towards China—away from the US—in trade, I don’t think that’s happening,” said Ramon Clarete, a University of the Philippines professor specializing in multilateral trade policy and international economics

    During a visit to Beijing in October last year, Duterte announced the Philippines’ “realignment” with China, and a “separation” from the United States.

    The announcement, coupled with tirades against criticisms of Duterte’s war on drugs, raised concerns that it would cost the Philippines a major trading partner.

    But after US President Barrack Obama stepped down and Donald Trump took over as the elected head of state, relations between the Philippines and US have somewhat improved as Duterte displayed more affable view of Trump, Clarete said.

    Emmanuel Lopez, who heads the University of Sto Tomas’ economics department, agreed, saying: “[Duterte and Trump], more or less, agree on certain things.”

    Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the US increased imports from the Philippines by 4.65 percent to $5.38 billion in the first half of the year, from $5.14 billion in the same period last year. The Philippines, on the other hand, imported $3.97 billion from the US, down 5.46 percent from $4.19 billion.

    The US accounted for 10.9 percent of total trade in January to June, a 0.9-percentage point decline from the 11.8 percent in same period last year and making it the Philippine’s second largest export market.

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