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United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Meets President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines

Washington, D.C. - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today for a wide-ranging discussion of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade issues.

"The Philippines is an important friend, ally, and trading partner of the United States," said Ambassador Kirk.  "We share many common interests, including a tremendous stake in the vitality of an open trading system and a desire to expand the scope and depth of our cooperation, including in the WTO, APEC, and ASEAN."

Ambassador Kirk also emphasized the importance of further building bilateral trade and investment relations and addressing outstanding bilateral issues.  Kirk and Arroyo discussed the need to explore new avenues of cooperation under the U.S.-Philippine Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, including on issues such as customs, services, and trade and the environment.

BACKGROUND

The United States and the Philippines have an extensive trade and investment relationship.  Two-way trade between the United States and the Philippines totaled more than $21 billion in 2008, with U.S. goods exports up 7.6 percent in 2008 over the previous year.  The top U.S. export categories were electrical machinery, cereals, machinery, optic and medical instruments, and food waste and animal feed.  The Philippines is the 12th largest U.S. agriculture market, with exports totaling $1.7 billion in 2008.  U.S. foreign direct investment in the Philippines was nearly $7 billion in 2007 (latest available data), much of it invested in the manufacturing sector.