A BUREAU of Trade and International Relations (BITR) official assured on Wednesday that the trade wars between China and the United States do not affect trade negotiations in the Philippines.
Lawyer Anne Claire Cabochan, BITR director, said the Philippines has always been represented as an overall alternative site for investments and source of raw materials and intermediate products.
However, Cabochan added that there are still some measures that affect the country such as solar panels, which the country exports to the US.
“With respect to our exports, the US has always been a key trading partner. It has been a key source of investment, our market for Philippine products,” Cabochan added.
The BITR director assured that the trade wars have minimal negative effects on the country because the main targets are China, Canada, the European Union, and Mexico.
She said that they are doing something to protect the country’s interests even if the Philippines is not the primary target because of its integrated trade.
“For instance, in the World Trade Organization, when cases are filed against the US, at kung may interest din tayo sa product na iyon (and if we have an interest that that product), we are going to join as third party,” she said.
Cabochon said that the Philippines as a third party can make a statement, attend meetings, make its positions known, and have access to all written submissions submitted to the panel of parties.
As of this time, the BITR said that there’s currently no trade agreement pending because the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association has already been approved and signed by the President.
However, the BITR is watching the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which is being negotiated not only by the Philippines bilaterally, but by the Philippines as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its partners. Clarenz Jay Mendoza, USJ-R Intern