Czech Republic to support Philippine bid for EU FTA
(The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Czech Republic has vowed to back the Philippines in its bid to secure a free trade agreement (FTA) with the 28-member European Union (EU).

Martin Tlapa, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Relations of the Czech Republic, said in a recent visit to the country their government would support the Philippines in EU negotiations for an FTA which is bound to commence this year.

“The Czech Republic is very much supporting market access, and that is why we will be supporting the decision on the European level for Generalized Scheme of Preference plus (GSP plus) for the Philippines… and we are very much supportive to have a free trade agreement,” he said.

“We will be very supportive on the government level of the policy of EU which will help you to have better access to the European market because we do understand how important it is for us,” Tlapa added.

The Czech Republic is a member of the EU, the largest foreign investor in the Philippines with a foreign direct investment stock in the country of over P366 billion.

The EU is also the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner with bilateral trade amounting to P738 billion.

On the other hand, the Philippines is EU’s 6th largest trading partner in the region and 44th worldwide.

In December last year, the country secured the EU’s nod to commence negotiations for the much sought-after Philippines-EU FTA.

The first round of negotiations is expected to take place in the Philippines within the first half of the year.

Aside from the potential Philippines-EU FTA, the Philippines, since the end of 2014, has been benefiting from the enhanced trade preferences granted by the EU under the GSP plus.

The EU GSP plus is a preferential tariff scheme that allows the Philippines to export more than 6,000 products to any EU member country tariff free.

ACIRC COUNTRY CZECH REPUBLIC ECONOMIC RELATIONS OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN AFFAIRS GENERALIZED SCHEME OF PREFERENCE IN DECEMBER MARTIN TLAPA PHILIPPINES TLAPA
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