Marcos pushes Philippines-EU free trade deal

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos pushes Philippines-EU free trade deal
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks in this undated photo.
Office of the Press Secretary

MANILA, Philippines - President Marcos yesterday called for the resumption of the talks on a free trade deal between the Philippines and the European Union (EU), saying it would be a “win-win” strategy for both parties.

Speaking during the gala dinner of the 2023 European-Philippine Business Dialogue in Makati, Marcos said the trade agreement promises to achieve “mutually beneficial” economic goals, while maintaining consistency with the EU’s core ideals of sustainable development and environment protection and with its Indo-Pacific strategy.

“A bilateral FTA (free trade agreement) will be a win-win strategy for both the Philippines and the EU,” the President said.

“I take this opportunity to call upon our friends from the EU-ABC (EU-ASEAN Business Council) and ECCP (European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines) to proactively advocate for the resumption of negotiations for this purpose, as well as to strive for fair treatment and more beneficial reciprocity,” he added.

Talks on the EU-Philippines free trade deal began in 2016. The negotiations have been on hiatus since the last round of talks in Cebu City in 2017.

“With this conducive business atmosphere that we are fostering, I believe that we can all agree that the timing and conditions are now quite ripe for us to solidify the long- standing and historically beneficial trade relations: through a bilateral Philippine-EU free trade agreement,” Marcos said.

The free trade deal was one of the matters discussed during Marcos’ meeting with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in Brussels last December.

During the meeting, the President said he was expecting the expansion of the free trade talks between the Philippines and the renewal of the country’s GSP+ status.

The GSP+ is a unilateral trade arrangement that imposes zero tariffs on 6,274 products or 66 percent of all EU tariff lines. It serves as an incentive to promote good governance. Before its application for the GSP+, the Philippines was using the standard GSP.

In 2012, the EU announced the inclusion of the Philippines in the list of countries eligible to apply for the revised GSP+ program for 2014-2023. To achieve the status, the Philippines has to effectively implement 27 international core conventions on human rights, labor rights, good governance, and the environment.

Marcos also cited the Philippines’ efforts to create an environment conducive to businesses, which he said, covers infrastructure, strategic investments, peace, security and justice, good governance, regulatory efficiency, financial stability and climate resilience.

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