Praise for the U.S. – Philippines Partnership for Growth

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During his visit to the Philippines last week, U.S. President Obama reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to economic cooperation with the Philippines and highlighted the ongoing role of the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth (PFG) for continued economic and policy support.

Established in 2011, the goal of the Partnership for Growth is to help the Philippines focus on generating a higher, sustained and more inclusive growth trajectory in line with other high-performing emerging countries.

The PFG Joint Steering Committee, composed of Co-Chairs from the two governments and established to supervise the partnership process and policy instruction, includes members from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of State, U.S. Trade Representative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Department of Justice. These agencies will provide more than US$800 million to support PFG projects over a period of five years in the Philippines.

The PFG’s growth diagnostics analysis found that the two main constraints for economic growth in the Philippines have been weak governance and narrow fiscal space. In order to target these weaknesses, the partnership has adopted a comprehensive approach consisting of three inter-related themes: Fiscal Performance, Regulatory Quality and Rule of Law & Anti-Corruption.

According to the PFG’s Joint Country Action Plan, the two governments have been collaborating through the following objectives:

  • “Create a more transparent, predictable, and consistent legal and regulatory regime in the Philippines, one that is less encumbered by corruption;
  • Foster a more open and competitive business environment with lower barriers to entry;
  • Strengthen the rule of law that is grounded in an efficient court system capable of delivering timely justice;
  • Support fiscal stability through better revenue administration and expenditure management.”

In recent years the Philippines has remained one of the fastest-growing economies in the East Asia region. The government has accelerated reforms to promote more competition, simplify regulations and improve government spending and revenues from new tax policy and administrative measures.

Following President Obama’s visit to the Philippines, the White House Press Secretary released an official fact sheet praising the partnership and highlighting several positive results of the countries’ bilateral cooperation, including progress on worker rights issues, expansion of bilateral agricultural trade and improvements in intellectual property rights in the Philippines.

As one of the Philippine’s largest trade partners, exports from the United States reached US$8.4 billion last year, up from US$8.1 billion in 2012. Maintaining its trade surplus with the U.S., the Philippines exported US$9.3 billion in goods to the U.S., creating a trade surplus of US$862 million in 2013.

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