Ambassador MaryKay Carlson’s Remarks at the Mangrove Forum “A New Impetus for U.S. Commitment to the U.S.-Philippines Alliance”

We appreciate the leadership shown by the Philippines in supporting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. And we call on the PRC to fulfill its treaty obligations under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention to comply with a legally binding decision by the Arbitral Tribunal in 2016, which rendered a unanimous and binding decision firmly rejecting widespread and unlawful maritime claims the PRC. We recognize the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines under the international law of the sea in accordance with that decision, including with respect to maritime zones in the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal and Reed Bank. More broadly, we stand with you, our Filipino ally, to consult, assist, deter and respond to any threats and provocations.

We have heard President Marcos indicate that the foreign policy of the Philippines is one of peace. That is why we share the concerns of the Palestinians about the PLA’s provocative military activity in the Taiwan Strait and areas around Taiwan – including ballistic missile launches and the deployment of aircraft and naval vessels across the middle line of the Strait.

The United States, the Philippines, and almost every country in the world all seek a constructive relationship with the PRC. China is the second largest economy in the world. Its ties to the Philippines are enhanced by close geography and long history. We in the United States seek to cooperate with China on shared interests – especially on global challenges such as climate change and health. Our aim is to ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains free, open, prosperous, secure and resilient, and we seek like-minded partners to help achieve this goal.

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In this regard, the United States has committed over $625 million over the past five years to Philippine defense and security enhancements designed largely to strengthen capabilities in Philippine maritime areas in the South China Sea. We train together as partners to increase communication and information sharing. And many parts of our mission, including defense personnel, law enforcement officials, our law enforcers, and our economic and commercial counterparts, work daily with their counterparts to strengthen the cybersecurity of the Philippines. Our goal through all these efforts is to continue to be your partner of choice.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, is another way of operating the Mutual Defense Treaty. In the next two years, the United States expects to spend $70 million on infrastructure improvements for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. These enhancements are designed to enhance defense collaborative capability and support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response activities, in ways that best meet the needs of the AFP and the Alliance. Together we are looking at more ways to expand EDCA to directly strengthen our work together.

While I have talked a lot about our security relationship, I also want to highlight one of the other main pillars of ties between the United States and the Philippines, our economic partnership. President Marcos’ visit to the New York stock exchange and his meetings with US business leaders demonstrated the enthusiasm of the US private sector in seeking sound business opportunities in the Philippines.

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The United States remains one of the Philippines’ closest economic partners, with nearly $30 billion in bilateral trade in 2021. The United States is also the third largest investor in the Philippines, with nearly $150 million in direct investment new foreign in 2021. US firms – including many household names such as Texas Instruments, Concentrix, Chevron, Proctor & Gamble, and Coca Cola – are among the Philippines’ top exporters, largest taxpayers, and the largest employers, and many US firms have been active in the Philippines for over a century. . With hundreds of thousands of Filipino employees, and a long history of commitment to workforce development and training, American companies are truly invested in the Philippines.

We look forward to expanding our economic cooperation with the Philippines and other regional partners through initiatives including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or “IPEF.” The Philippines is a founding member of IPEF and is committed to all four pillars of the framework – trade, supply chains, clean economy, and fair economy. It is great to see that Philippine economic experts are very involved in the development of IPEF.

Recently, the Philippines participated in the first IPEF ministry in Los Angeles, helping define the scope of each of IPEF’s four pillars. Moreover, as the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC forum in 2023, we look forward to welcoming delegates from the Philippines during 2023 to promote critical economic policy cooperation, with -includes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

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The Philippines is one of the world’s top producers of nickel, a vital mineral used in battery and electronics manufacturing, and is a critical node in the global supply chain for semiconductors. The United States – through IPEF and other initiatives like the Creating Incentives for the Production of Semiconductors, or CHIPS Act – stands ready to work with the Philippines to take advantage of this competitive economic advantage and our mutual economic prosperity. strengthen. We aim – with partners like the Philippines – to set the rules of the road for trade in the 21st century and beyond.

The Biden and Marcos administrations are also partners in tackling the climate crisis. We have a long line of clean energy partnerships with the Philippines, and this joint effort is critical to economic growth, critical to innovation, and critical to responding to the climate crisis.
The latest example of this shared effort is a US grant to develop offshore wind projects in the Philippines, an initiative expected to generate enough energy to power two million homes.

And finally, every aspect of the relationship between the United States and the Philippines enlivens the deep ties of friendship and family between the two peoples. There are over four million US citizens with


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