PHL-US FTA needs to be tech-focused — DTI

PHL-US FTA needs to be tech-focused — DTI

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the Philippines and the US should pursue a free trade agreement (FTA) focused on technology and innovation, going beyond the usual negotiating points involving tariffs and market access.

The DTI, quoting Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba at the Consumer Electronics Show Summit in Las Vegas, said that the department will advocate for a “more nuanced approach in trade relations” amid impending negotiations with the US.

Ms. Aldaba said that the potential FTA should also safeguard intellectual property rights, promote sustainable trade practices, and address aspects of digital trade, data privacy and cybersecurity.

The other key elements are advocating for open and fair trade while protecting domestic industries, setting standards and rules, and ensuring fair labor standards.

“The agreement should emphasize technological innovation, research and development (R&D), education, and the integration of emerging technologies in trade,” Ms. Aldaba said.

The Philippines is an active participant in the discussions of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) which was launched by the US in 2022.

“The IPEF focuses on supply chains, clean energy, decarbonization, infrastructure, tax, and anti-corruption measures,” the DTI said.

The other IPEF participants are Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, South Korea, Japan, India, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. — Justine Irish D. Tabile