European Group Bullish on Free Trade Deal
News - December 27, 2012
By: Julito G. Rada
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said a free trade agreement between the Philippines and European Union can be sealed within the next three years.
ECCP executive vice president Henry Schumacher said in a statement it was high time for the two parties to proceed to the negotiating table and start the scoping stage for the agreement. European businessmen have committed to support the two parties and conclude negotiations on the trade agreement.
Schumacher said the ECCP could assist in the process and that a three-year timetable for signing the FTA was realistic.
“The ECCP can blend with the two sides and aid in having both the EU and the Philippines negotiate, agree on parameters, address issues, and eventually come to terms,” Schumacher said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier said the Philippines was committed to moving the FTA negotiations forward, make the necessary structural changes and recruit the people that would implement them.
He said the Philippines would benefit from the free trade deal on numerous fronts, especially on increased exchange of investments, goods and services and visitors.
Del Rosario cited the benefits of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
“The agreement with Japan has resulted in them becoming the number one foreign investor, number two in tourist arrivals and number one in official development assistance. If the FTA with EU is signed, more European investors will come and do business here,” Del Rosario said.
Source: Manila Standard Today; News; 24 December 2012