The Philippines remains interested in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but achieving membership will likely take time, a Cabinet official said.
“The Philippines [has]indicated very clearly that we would like to join the TPP,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said on Tuesday when asked to react to news that 12 Pacific Rim countries had reached a deal after five years of talks.
“We asked the TPP members what is their policy in terms of admitting new ones over the above the current 12 . . . they have said that they cannot entertain new ones until they conclude the agreement,” Domingo said.
The 12 TPP members—the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—announced the deal on Monday.
Domingo said the trade pact was still a long way from taking effect as lawmakers in each country would need to ratify the deal.
“TPP will take time to be implemented,” he said.
The Philippines, which has expressed concern over reports that TPP membership would come with stringent conditions, will be “right there at the door, waiting for it to open, then . . . we will start discussion,” Domingo said.
Preliminary talks have already been conducted with a number of TPP members including the United States, he claimed.