Bangkok, Thailand – Secretary Fred Pascual met with members of the US-APEC Business Coalition on 18 November 2022 during his trip to Bangkok, Thailand to attend the 33rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Week. The meeting discussed, among others, the Philippines’ priorities and programs to encourage more foreign investments and boost economic growth.

Secretary Pascual recognized that the United States remains among the top trade partners of the Philippines even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stressed the need to reauthorize the General System of Preferences (GSP),  and eventually a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the United States.

“We look forward to an FTA with the US which will serve as a more permanent mechanism to lock in market access interests and other binding commitments to expand bilateral trade and investment”, said Secretary Pascual.

He emphasized the major economic reforms that the Philippines introduced to create a more conducive and transparent business environment, including the passage of the CREATE Act, the amendments to Foreign Investment Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Public Service Act , and the approval of the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority Plan.

Supporting industry development initiatives, the Philippines also works to eliminate tariffs on electric vehicles (EVs), and the liberalization of the  current investment regimes on solar, wind and tidal energy.

In the meeting, the Philippines’ participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was also highlighted.  “The IPEF is a mechanism that will provide more  opportunities to cooperate on trade and investment.”  said Sec. Pascual.

He further expressed that the Philippines is keen to tap into grants, support or procurement opportunities to complement industry development initiatives of the country.

On behalf of the US-APEC Business Coalition, Amb. Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, US-ASEAN Business Council, expressed his appreciation to the Secretary for his support and proactive engagement in addressing the needs of the business sector. He expressed his intention to continue working with the Philippines, especially on creative industry and other key sectors where the Philippines and the US are mutually involved and have interests in.

Secretary Pascual was joined in the meeting by Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty, Assistant Secretary Glenn G. Peñaranda, Assistant Director Marie Sherylyn D. Aquia, and Commercial Counselor Althea Karen P. Antonio. ♦

Date of Release: 18 November 2022