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Duterte open to support Chinese-backed FTAAP: official

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-14 17:35

MANILA - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is open to support free trade deals, including the Chinese-led Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

Leo Herrera-Lim Sr., a senior assistant of the DFA-Office of International Economic Relations made the remarks during the briefing in Malacanang, the presidential palace, of President Rodrigo Duterte's attendance in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Lima, Peru later this week.

"I think for the Philippines and President Duterte, he's been open to anything that contributes well to the Philippine economy. So we are not closing the door on any economic integration or free trade because I think we understand that free trade by itself penetrates the greater population," he said when asked if Duterte is keen on joining the FTAAP being pushed by China.

He said the only thing that Duterte would like to see is that any free trade agreement would not disadvantage any of the sectors in the country.

During the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing, APEC member economies pushed forward the process of the FTAAP by sketching out a historic roadmap.

China has been pushing for the FTAAP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

"RCEP is still alive," Lim said.

Duterte will join other 20 APEC leaders in the APEC Summit on Nov 19-20.

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