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Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines has formally
expressed interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for
Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), with the goal of building new relationships
with countries outside its existing bilateral free trade agreements.
Ramon Lopez, secretary of trade and industry, sent a
signed letter of intent to New Zealand, the depositary nation of the CPTPP,
Nikkei Asia reported.
The newspaper said Lopez asked about the process of
joining the CPTPP as well as how it operates.
It quoted Ceferino Rodolfo, an undersecretary as
saying that it would be critical for the Philippines to engage the CPTPP
members that are currently not part or not a partner of the Philippines in FTA,
which are Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
Nikkei Asia said diversified trade ties could allow
the Philippines to be less dependent on China amid simmering tensions caused by
territorial disputes. China is among the country’s top export markets and is
its largest trading partner overall.
The original 12 countries participating in CPTPP
talks, including the US, held a summit in Manila in 2015. Then Philippine
President Benigno Aquino had expressed an intention to join the TPP, but the country
The UK has formally applied to join the CPTPP. Other
nations, such as China and Thailand, have also expressed interest./.