By Luke Waring
The U.S. Trade Representative this week announced progress in talks with the Philippines under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). U.S. dairy producers and processors appreciate the Administration's work to preserve and deepen market access ties with a country that purchased $243 million in U.S. dairy products last year.
In a joint statement released about the recent achievements in resolving trade issues under the TIFA, both governments agreed that they should work together to benefit agriculture. This is viewed as a promising development given Southeast Asia's growing market for dairy products.
U.S. officials noted that the Philippines has been handling geographical indications (GIs) in a fair manner that preserves the use of common names and welcomed their commitment to "discuss ways to ensure that Philippine laws, regulations, and policies do not restrict or prohibit entry of U.S. products in the Philippine market."
To further that goal, the Philippines confirmed that "it will not provide automatic GI protection, including to terms exchanged as part of a trade agreement." Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said this assurance is significant because of the European Union's ongoing campaign to use GIs to block U.S. dairy sales.
"The Philippine economy is strengthening, its population is growing, and more consumers are moving up into the middle class," explained Vilsack. "In short, there is tremendous potential for greater U.S. dairy sales in the Philippines and this week's announcement gets us a step closer to realizing this opportunity. USTR's work to keep those doors open today and pursue ways to crack them open further in the future is certainly appreciated by dairy producers and processors across the country."Click here to see more...