Phl welcomes approval of legislation to accelerate negotiations for TPP (Philippine Star)

BORACAY, Aklan, Philippines The Philippines welcomed the US Senate’s approval of a trade legislation accelerating negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as it remains interested in joining the deal.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, the US Senate’s move to approve the bill is a positive development.

“I think it is positiveI think it is better to have an agreement even if it means our entry into it would be delayed,” he said.

The US Senate passed the fasttrack bill which is also known as the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) on Friday.

Through a TPA, the US President is authorized to enter into trade agreements and set procedures to expedite Congress’ action on legislation needed to implement the deals.

If the House would also approve the bill, negotiations for the TPP could be concluded soon as other parties to the deal want assurance the agreement would be passed by the US Congress without amendments.

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The TPP is currently being negotiated by the US Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Once negotiations are concluded, the deal is expected to set high standards for a trade bloc which would represent more than half of global output and over 40 percent of world trade.

According to Domingo, should the 12 Pacific countries decide to open the deal to new members, the Philippines would be interested to become part of it.

“We already made a study and it says there will be a positive impact to join (the TPP),” Domingo said.

The country’s two major trading partners, the US and Japan, are part of the deal.

“They are not accepting (new members) now but we would like to join,” Domingo said.