PH close to joining Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Philippines is keen on joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership as soon as the initial 12 countries comprising the first batch of members concluded the membership process in the regional economic group.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said during a forum celebrating the Board of Investment’s 48th anniversary Tuesday the Philippines was near to gaining entry into the TPP after Manila expressed interest to become a member of the group.

“The Philippines indicated very clearly it wants to join TPP. We’re as close as we can get to start discussions with TPP. As soon as the door opens, we’ll be there,” Domingo said.

The Philippines is an active member of the World Trade Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an existing bilateral agreement with Japan.

Manila is pursuing free trade agreements with six countries, including Mexico and the European Free Trade Association, in which it already concluded three rounds of talks.

Earlier, Australian minister for trade and investment Andrew Robb, who visited the Philippines in May 2015, assured the Philippines had a great chance to join TPP. 

He said every member of the proposed partnership agreed that as long as the Philippines met the standards, it would qualify for membership in the TPP.

Robb had said membership to the TPP was closed since the group was near to signing the first batch of membership.

TPP members to date include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore the United States and Vietnam.

The TPP fully organized will comprise about 40 percent of the world gross domestic production and 33 percent of global trade.

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