No trash talk, but PHL, Canada to launch free-trade negotiations

Monday, May 11th, 2015. Filed under: World News
(OTTAWA, Canada) President Benigno S. Aquino III exchanges pleasantries with His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during the courtesy call at the Large Drawing Room of the Rideau Hall for his State Visit to Canada. (MNS Photo))

(OTTAWA, Canada) President Benigno S. Aquino III exchanges pleasantries with His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during the courtesy call at the Large Drawing Room of the Rideau Hall for his State Visit to Canada. (MNS Photo))

Montreal, Canada (AFP)   – Canada and the Philippines announced they will begin discussions over increasing commerce between the two nations by lowering trade barriers, officials from the two governments said Friday in Ottawa.

The negotiations are part of a push by Canada to develop bilateral economic agreements in Asia as progress has slowed on the twelve-country North American-Asia Pacific trade accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Canada’s trade minister will travel to Manila by the end of the month to start negotiations on the free trade agreement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

“We look forward to sharing with the prime minister the prospects of growth in the Philippines, particularly in the public-private partner infrastructure programs where Canadian investors may wish to capitalize,” the Philippine’s president Benigno Aquino said, describing the talks as “exploratory discussions.”

Current trade between the Philippines and Canada amounts to about Can$2 billion ($1.65 billion), Harper said.

On Friday, Harper and Aquino discussed conditions for issuing work visas for Filipinos in Canada. There are about 700,000 Filipinos in the country, according to government data.

The Canadian government committed to helping the Philippines rebuild after a devastating typhoon left 7,350 people dead or missing in 2013.

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