The Philippine Trade Act, more commonly known as the Bell Trade Act, was passed by the United States Congress in 1946. The Philippines economy had been devastated by World War II and their economy was in debt. The Bell Trade Act was the gift of independence of the Republic of the Philippines from United States rule, but with a numerous amount of strings attached. This act also tied the Philippines economy to that of the U.S. Although the act was frowned upon by the majority of the Filipinos, both the Philippine government and the United States government agreed to it.
The Philippine Trade Act was controversial in many ways. The United States promised a payment of $800,000,000 as an incentive to sign the agreement to the act. The act set quotas on Philippine exports to the United States. The Philippines currency, the peso, was set at a fixed rate to the U.S. dollar. Also, provided after 8 years of free trade between the two countries, there would be the application of tariffs for the next 20 years. The United States citizens were granted equal rights with Filipinos in the operations of public utilities and the exploitation of natural resources in the Philippines in what was known as the Parity Amendment. The Philippine Trade Act also prohibited the manufacturing or selling any products that could compete with U.S. made-products. Today, Philippine historians see the Bell Trade Act as the ignoring of their national sovereignty. The above pictures are of the American and Filipino flags and the American dollar and Filipino peso.