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Philippines holds informal TPP membership talks with U.S.

Staff Writer |
The Philippines is eager to join the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal and it has already held informal talks with the United States to do so, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

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In an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of ASEAN economy ministers meetings in Vientiane, Lopez said the key industries which would benefit would be electronics, automotives and garments.

"If you don't take part in it you might lose some opportunities while other countries are enjoying them. We'd like to be part of that," Lopez said.

"The new government is one that will keep the policy of maximizing FTA (foreign trade agreements) participation. We're close to the U.S. and we've had talks at an informal level."

The TPP has been dubbed a "mega-regional accord", and once in play would be the biggest trade pact in a generation.

It will be a boon in particular for lower cost manufacturing-led economies, with the prospect of sharp tariff cuts to markets like the United States already luring factory investment to TPP members.

Lopez said his country was in a good position to join, having separate FTAs in place with seven of the 12 countries already.

The TPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam, accounting for about 800 million people and 40 percent of the global trade.

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