DTI to assign trade attache for Hungary
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to deploy a trade attaché for Budapest in Hungary to strengthen its presence in Europe and enhance efforts to promote trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines to European firms. 

In a statement, the DTI said it would soon hire a trade attaché for posting in Budapest, Hungary to beef up its presence in Europe. 

At present, the DTI has trade attaches in other parts of Europe such as Berlin in Germany; Brussels in Belgium; Paris in France; and London in the United Kingdom. 

The move is part of DTI’s efforts to encourage trade and investments from the EU to the Philippines. 

Earlier this month, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo met with the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss opportunities in the Philippines with investors from the EU. 

During the meeting, Rodolfo said the Philippines would want to attract investments in the aerospace sector from the EU. 

As the Philippines is a beneficiary of the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) which allows duty-free entry of Philippine exports to the bloc, Lopez said trade relations between the two parties have become stronger. 

Last year, the EU was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner and second biggest export market at EUR 7.2 billion.

Of the Philippine exports to the EU last year, 25 percent entered the bloc via the GSP+.

As the country’s main exports to the EU include processed meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, Lopez said the EU GSP+ has benefitted Filipino farmers and fishermen. 

In addition, he said the EU GSP+ has also encouraged foreign firms to invest in the Philippines.

“A number of companies have established their manufacturing operations in the Philippines in order to take advantage of GSP+ benefits, thereby contributing to employment generation and the developmental goals of the country,” Lopez said. 

While the EU GSP+ has helped promote stronger trade ties between the Philippines and the bloc, Rodolfo said a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the parties is seen as a more sustainable mechanism to enhance the trade and investments relations of the two economies.

Talks for the FTA between the EU and the Philippines have stalled with the second round of negotiations held in Cebu in February last year. 

Negotiators conducted the first round of talks in Brussels in May 2016.

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