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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

U.S. business leaders to explore opportunities in PH, says Obama

United States President Barack Obama on Monday announced that American business leaders would be coming to the Philippines in June this year to explore more opportunities.

”I’m announcing that my Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will lead the delegation of American business leaders to the Philippines this June to explore new opportunities,” Obama said during the joint press conference after his bilateral meeting with President Benigno Aquino III in Malacanang.

Obama congratulated President Aquino for the reforms he pursued to make the Philippines one of the fast growing economies in Asia.

”We agreed to keep deepening our economic cooperation. I congratulated President Aquino on the reforms that he’s pursued to make the Philippines more competitive through our partnership for growth and our Millennium Challenge Cooperation compact,” Obama said.

”We are going to keep working together to support these efforts so that more Filipinos can share in this nation’s economic progress because growth has to be broad-based and it has to be inclusive” the US leader added.

The two leaders also discussed the steps that the Philippines could take to position itself for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

”I encouraged the President to seize the opportunity he’s created by opening the next phase of economic reform and growth,” Obama said.

”As a vibrant democracy, the Philippines reflects the desire of citizens in this region to live in freedom and to have their universal rights upheld. As one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, the Philippines represents new opportunities for the trade and investment that creates jobs in both countries,” the US President added.

Aside from deep economic cooperation, Obama renewed the commitment of the US to strengthen the defense and security alliance between the Philippines and the US.

”As I made clear throughout this trip, the United States is renewing our leadership in the Asia Pacific and our engagement is rooted in our alliances, and that includes the Philippines, which is the oldest security treaty alliance that we have in Asia,” Obama said.

He assured that the newly-signed Enhanced Development Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) will not open door of bringing back the US bases in the Philippines.

For his part, President Aquino expressed appreciation for the US support to the Philippine government’s program under the partnership for growth framework which enhances the policy environment for economic growth through US$ 145 million planned contribution from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

President Aquino said the US support is also coursed through the Millennium Challenge Corporation which supports the implementation of projects on road infrastructure, poverty reduction, and good governance with a US$ 434 million grant from 2011-2016.

The Philippine leader also said the recent US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision to reinstated the Philippines to a Category 1 status will redound to mutual benefit for both countries from opening more routes for travel between the two countries to creating more business opportunities, to facilitating increased tourism and business travel.

”We welcome the substantive agreement between our countries on the terms and concessions for the U.S. to support the Philippines’ request for the extension of special treatment for our rice imports until 2017,” he said.

President Aquino also thanked Obama for the US’ significant assistance and support for the Philippine peace process particularly the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last March 27.

- Interaksyon

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