Asia Philippine presidential frontrunner Poe favors free trade pacts

Philippine presidential frontrunner Poe favors free trade pacts

Philippine presidential candidate senator Grace Poe clench her fists while addresing the International Women's Day rally by Gabriela Party List women's group in Manila March 8, 2016.
Philippine presidential candidate senator Grace Poe clench her fists while addresing the International Women’s Day rally by Gabriela Party List women’s group in Manila March 8, 2016.

Senator Grace Poe, frontrunner in the Philippines’ presidential election in May, said on Wednesday she was in favor of signing free trade agreements with other countries if elected.

“To ensure that (domestic) industries are not disadvantaged in selling to the world, we should ensure that we join free trade blocs set up to grant members preferential access to each others’ markets,” Poe told a business forum.

“I am in favor of following the lead of our more progressive ASEAN neighbors who are way ahead of us not just in joining such blocs, but in signing bilateral free trade agreements with other countries on their own.”

The Philippine Supreme Court on March 8 ruled that Poe, who spent much of her life in the United States, is eligible to run for president, reversing a decision by the election commission.