Philippines, Australia to increase trade

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The Department of Trade and Industry  (DTI) has welcomed Australia’s commitment to increase bilateral trade and investments in the Philippines.

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“The strength of the Philippine economy, while founded through sound domestic reforms, was not achieved by the Philippines alone. Trade and investment partners such as Australia play an important role in paving the road to economic growth,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the recent 4th Philippines Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM).

Domingo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario co-chaired the PAMM, together with Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb.

“PAMM gives us the impetus to translate the outcomes of our trade negotiations into concrete bilateral economic benefits. Both countries identified strategic bilateral cooperation initiatives in areas of mutual interest such as education, agriculture, mining and infrastructure development, among others, which will support further expansion of our economic relations,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal.

“For more than a decade the Doha Development Agenda negotiation is slowed and as a result of which, countries are resorting to bilateral free-trade agreements [FTAs] and regional free-trade agreements. The AANZFTA [Asean-Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement] is one such FTA that has benefited many of our businesses,” he added.

Across the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines has the highest utilization rate of the preferential tariffs under the AANZFTA. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

In 2012, effective utilization was at a high of 82.13 percent. The rate of FTA utilization has continuously increased from 64.19 percent in 2010 to 76.25 percent in 2011. Cristobal attributed the increased in utilization to the DTI’s intensive advocacy campaign for businesses to learn about the benefits of trade agreements.

Philippine imports from Australia include copper ores and concentrates, milk and cream, and other wheat and meslin products. On the other hand, Australia usually buys from the Philippines ignition wiring sets and static converters.

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