Philippines bans imports of US food, petrol and other items as a protest against US military presence in Asia-Pacific region
Philippines on Monday banned imports of food, fuel and other goods from US-based grocery chains as a demonstration against the deployment of US troops in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte said the move, part of a broader campaign to curb the US presence in the South China Sea, was a response to US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Philippines last month.
“It is very important to make the statement that we have a strong objection against the US military,” Duterte told reporters after his arrival in Manila on Monday morning.
“We are not against the military, we are against US imperialism.
We will not allow them to establish bases in our country.
They will stay away,” he added.”
This is the first time in the Philippines that we are going to take the issue of the military off the table.”
The Philippines, a staunch US ally, has become the first country in the region to ban imports of foreign goods following the US’ decision last month to deploy military forces in the disputed South China sea.
The Philippine government says it will only allow imports of goods made in the United States and US-controlled Alaska as well as US-made goods made overseas.
The move came days after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington was considering sending a “robust” fleet of warships to the South Asian country as part of an effort to assert its dominance in the Pacific.
The Philippines and China have clashed over sovereignty claims to much of the South and East China seas.
China says it has the right to deploy troops to its disputed South and South-East China seas, but Manila says it is only doing so in self-defence.
A spokesman for the Philippine foreign ministry said the Philippine government would issue a formal statement on Monday to condemn the ban on imports.
“The statement of the Philippine side will take a position that it has no intention to permit the import of US-branded products,” the spokesman said.
“However, we will respond to any statements made by the US side on this issue by expressing our objection,” he said.
The United States has not said whether it will impose a unilateral or a multilateral trade embargo on the Philippines.US President Donald J. Trump has previously called for an “outstanding, robust and effective” alliance between the United Kingdom and the Philippines, but there is no sign of such a strategy.
The US has also imposed a travel ban on some of Duterte’s key allies, including Australia, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands.