Duterte slams TPP, backs Trump plan to dump trade deal
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday criticized the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the signature trade initiative of outgoing US President Barack Obama, saying that the trade deal would lead to more regional problems.
In his speech before leaving for Cambodia at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Duterte expressed support to United States President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the trade deal on the first day of his presidency, calling the TPP an “American idea” that “will not benefit the Philippines.”
“Mabuti na lang hindi tinuloy ni Obama kasi napaka-mali na policy ‘yan (It’s good that Obama didn’t continue that policy because it’s very wrong)… I’m glad that Trump said he will throw to the garbage can ‘yung TPP because it will create more problems for us here in Asia,” Duterte said.
Trump, in a video message outlining his priorities for his first 100 days, previously said he intended to withdraw from the TPP and negotiate “fair, bilateral trade deals that brings jobs and industry back onto American shores.”
Duterte’s latest remark contradicted the Department of Trade and Industry’s pitch for the Philippines’ inclusion in the US-led TPP. The DTI earlier said joining the trade deal would mean “greater opportunity to boost the country’s position in the global market through local micro, small and medium sized enterprises, workers and consumers, as they benefit from bigger potential markets and increased foreign investments.”
During last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino III said he “conveyed the keen interest of the Philippines in the TPP” during his bilateral meeting with Obama.
Duterte said the trade deal would be at the expense of affordable quality medicine. “Kung pumasok tayo at nagkamali tayo (If we enter into it and make a mistake), we won’t be able to sell medicine na hindi branded,” he said.
The TPP is a trade agreement among 12 countries in the Pacific– Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
The DTI earlier said the Philippines’ bid to join the TPP may be hampered by constitutional provisions not in line with the TPP’s thrust, particularly the restrictions on foreign ownership. JE
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