Finally, it examines the areas in which the free trade agreement is covered and how the Philippines could formulate its negotiating position in order to maximize the benefits of any concessions it may have to make in return. Business contributions will be essential in this regard, in particular to increase the relevance of the agreement to them. The purpose of the workshop is to enable government and business to better understand the issues at stake in order to generate support from businesses and the general public to move the process forward. However, since President Trump took office, the United States has shifted its trade policy from multilateral and regional trade agreements to bilateral trade agreements. In short, the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and imposed retaliatory duties on a large number of goods to impose concessions on their unfair trade practices. It blocked the appointment of members of the WTO appeal body, which ultimately led to the suspension of the WTO`s dispute settlement system. China`s massive trade surplus with the United States has made it the main concern of this ”fair and reciprocal bilateral trade policy.” The U.S.-China trade dispute is intensifying and affecting global economic growth. Despite the rhetoric, President Trump`s United States still needs to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement to complement the current 20. In fact, he had some of them checked, including the one with South Korea. It is therefore surprising that President Trump, during a visit to the Philippines in November 2017, announced that he and President Duterte had agreed to negotiate a free trade agreement. Given the current global trading environment – increasing protectionism and the trade war between the United States and China – it would appear that the Philippines would benefit from such an agreement by giving it a competitive footing with its competitors. The United States is the country`s second largest trading partner after ASEAN, with total trade of about $30 billion. In 2006, two-way merchandise trade between the United States and the Philippines was $17.3 billion (U.S.
Department of Commerce data). According to the Philippine government, in 2006, 16% of Philippine imports came from the United States, and about 18% of exports were exported to the United States.