Americas Columns

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Philippines and United States

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is honored to welcome Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Washington, DC. The leaders recognize the remarkable ties of friendship, community, and shared sacrifice that serve as the foundation of the U.S.-Philippines alliance.

President Biden and President Marcos welcome the historic momentum in U.S.-Philippine relations, and resolve to continue expanding engagement and cooperation on all issues of common concern. In efforts to promote inclusive and broad-based prosperity, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, uphold international peace and stability, and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, the United States and the Philippines will remain the closest of allies, working together to deliver a better future for our citizens and tackle the emerging challenges of the twenty-first century.

Partnering for Peace and Security: Strengthening our Alliance, Upholding International Law, and Expanding Regional Collaboration

President Biden reaffirms the United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to the Philippines, underscoring that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

The leaders welcome the identification of new sites pursuant to the U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will strengthen Philippine security and support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization goals, while driving U.S. investment to local communities across the Philippines and improving our shared ability to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The leaders underscore their unwavering commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones consistent with international law. The leaders support the right and ability of Filipino fisherfolk to pursue their traditional livelihoods. The leaders note the ruling of the 2016 arbitral tribunal, constituted pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They affirm the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of global security and prosperity. The leaders convey support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, noting that the conflict has adversely affected food and energy security in the Indo-Pacific.

The leaders welcome cooperation with partners that share the United States’ and the Philippines’ commitment to international law and mutual respect, and in that spirit, they reaffirm their strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They look forward to establishing trilateral modes of cooperation among the Philippines, Japan, and the United States, as well as the Philippines, Australia, and the United States. Furthermore, they welcome the Quad’s commitment to support a peaceful and stable, rules-based region with ASEAN at the center, through its efforts to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Delivering Prosperity and Resilience: Driving Broad-Based Economic Growth, Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition, and Promoting the Well-Being of Our Citizens

President Biden and President Marcos resolve to draw on the strength of their partnership to promote enduring economic growth and prosperity in the United States, the Philippines, and the broader Indo-Pacific region. To that end, President Biden will dispatch a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines on his behalf, to enhance U.S. companies’ investment in the Philippines’ innovation economy, its clean energy transition and critical minerals sector, and the food security of its people. Furthermore, the leaders announce that the United States and the Philippines will co-host the 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum – the United States’ marquee commercial event in the region – in Manila, which will further establish the Philippines as a key hub for regional supply chains and high-quality investment. Additionally, the two countries will pursue engagements with stakeholders, including in the business and social sectors, regarding opportunities to enhance bilateral economic engagement in a manner that is worker-centered, sustainability-driven, fair, and transparent, focusing on sectors in which it is critical to develop resilient supply chains and in which significant and meaningful economic value-added and employment can be generated in the United States and the Philippines.

The leaders welcome their countries’ plans to prioritize bilateral economic cooperation through the U.S.-Philippines Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The leaders also applaud progress in developing the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which will deliver concrete benefits to our workers, families, and businesses by promoting trade, supply chain resilience, clean economy development, and anti-corruption throughout the region. The two leaders look forward to seeing one another again in San Francisco this November for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region.

Recognizing that the climate crisis poses an existential threat to the world, and the Philippines’ particular vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the leaders reaffirm they will undertake urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They resolve to expand collaboration on renewable energy production to accelerate the clean energy transition while bringing down energy costs and expanding energy access for families. The leaders hail progress in negotiating a U.S.-Philippines civil nuclear cooperation agreement (“123 agreement”). The United States and the Philippines will also pursue an ambitious program of cooperation on wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while enhancing cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the waste, road, and shipping sectors.

The leaders further resolve to expand cooperation on environmental protections, including enhanced domain awareness, marine conservation, and protecting coastal areas from environmental degradation. Acknowledging the paramount significance of science and technology in propelling our countries forward, the leaders pledge to promote increased cooperation and knowledge sharing between the United States and the Philippines through the Science and Technology Agreement (STA), and they welcome U.S. plans to establish an Open-RAN Interoperability Lab in Manila. Recognizing the importance of enhancing and sustaining joint efforts in outer space activities, the leaders also welcome their countries’ plan to prioritize and strengthen bilateral space cooperation, including by convening their first bilateral Civil Space Dialogue this year.

The leaders underscore the importance of strong democratic institutions, rule of law, and respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, press, and association, and they note the importance of countering any form of violence in our societies, such as that against civil society, women, children, and marginalized groups. The leaders welcome the establishment of a bilateral Labor Working Group as part of the U.S.-Philippines TIFA, which will provide an important opportunity for the United States and the Philippines to work together on implementation of internationally recognized labor rights, and to facilitate exchange and dialogue among U.S. and Philippine governments and labor unions, as well as employer organizations.

The leaders recognize that the people-to-people ties between the two countries are an indispensable pillar of our partnership, manifested in their immense contributions to both the United States and the Philippines. The leaders note the service and sacrifice of Filipinos in World War II, and more recently, the significant contributions of Filipino Americans on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking to the future, President Biden and President Marcos express the utmost confidence that the special ties between their nations and their people will only grow stronger with time, as the United States and the Philippines continue to realize their shared vision of partnership, peace, and prosperity.