News Release

PH looking at forging FTA with US on cyberspace, digital tech, says Ambassador Romualdez

The Philippines is looking at forging a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States on specific areas, with the renewed interest from both sides to further enhance trade and economic cooperation, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said on Thursday in Washington DC.

“Well, on specific areas. Specific areas–probably in the cyberspace, for instance, or in the digital technology and of course, there are many other areas that I think we can work with the United States on having this,” Romualdez said in a media interview at the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC when asked on possible FTA with the US.

“As I said, the United States is committed itself into really helping – well, I wouldn’t wanna put it helping, but looking at the Philippines as really a major investment hub for many American companies,” he said.

According to Romualdez, the Philippine side will be following up with the previous meeting with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, particularly on potential investors coming into the Philippines.

Aside from a potential FTA with the US, the Philippines is also eyeing similar trade ties with Japan, Romualdez said.

Romualdez said he thinks the US is more inclined to go into specific sectors for FTA.

“But the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which the United States has initiated, of which we are one of the founding members of that economic framework, is looking at including the entire ASEAN region,” he said.

Under such economic set up, Romualdez mentioned the Indo-Pacific and Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) meeting in Manila next month, which will probably give a clearer picture on its direction. PND