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11/11/2011: PHL Trade Secretary Leads Dialogue with Key US Congressional Leaders

Secretary Gregory Domingo talks to Chairman Kevin Brady, while Ambassador Jose Cuisia looks on.  At the background are Representatives Jim McDermott (seated, partly hidden) and Sandy Levin (right).

11 November 2011, Washington DC. Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo held discussions today on the sidelines of the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Honolulu with the leadership of the House Subcommittee on Trade represented by Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chair of the Subcommittee, and Jim McDermott (D-WA), its Ranking Member. Also present during the meeting was the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI).  Joining Secretary Domingo were Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Commercial Counselor Romulo V. Manlapig.

Among the issues discussed were the Philippines’ interests in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as the Save Our Industries Act, a bill pending in U.S. Congress that will help save jobs in the U.S. textile and Philippine apparel industries.

Secretary Domingo said the Philippines is generally supportive of APEC’s priority areas.  He reiterated the Philippines’ interest in joining the TPP and disclosed that preliminary talks are ongoing with concerned parties.  On the SAVE Act, Ambassador Cuisia remarked that the Philippines is the one former colony of the U.S. that does not have a special trading relationship with the U.S. If passed, the SAVE Act would represent the first major trade initiative in nearly forty years. The number of cosponsors in the House for SAVE Act has now reached 19 Representatives, and 3 more have committed themselves to sign up soon. In the Senate, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri are principal sponsors, and they have continued to champion the bill.

Representatives Brady, McDermott and Levin have been at the forefront in shaping US trade policy. Chairman Brady had a key role in the recent passage of the US free trade bills with South Korea, Panama and Colombia and he also championed the Central American Free Trade Agreement. A principal sponsor of the SAVE Act, Representative McDermott of Washington State is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has supported the promotion of US trade with developing countries.  A very senior legislator, Representative Levin of Michigan was Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Trade during the 110th and 111th Congress. He worked in the House on legislation implementing the Uruguay Round which established the World Trade Organization (WTO). END.