Europe-PH News

Trade dept counts on European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ support for resumption of PHL, EU FTA talks

February 20, 2023

ECCP Online

Europe-PH News

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hoping that the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), along with European companies, will assist in pushing for the resumption of the Philippines-European Union Free Trade Agreement (PH-EU FTA) negotiations.

“The DTI would appreciate ECCP’s unified effort in pushing for the resumption of the FTA negotiations by conducting similar surveys supporting the PH-EU FTA negotiations,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said during the ECCP Membership Luncheon Meeting on Thursday in Makati City.

“We request that you assist us in disseminating information to key European companies because we need their support to push for the conclusion of the FTA,” Pascual added.

The trade chief highlighted that as the Philippines implements existing FTAs and concludes new agreements, products from Europe will be competitively disadvantaged as they enter the Philippine market.

Pascual said the DTI is setting its sights on resuming negotiations between the Philippines and EU, as it is an “essential mechanism” in the Philippines’s relationship with the bloc. In addition, the trade chief said, “it is consistent with the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.”

Moreover, he said it supports the EU’s goal to “diversify” suppliers and enhance its cooperation on supply chains in the Asean region.

Pascual also noted that the “timely conclusion” of the PH-EU FTA negotiations would further expand the scope of market access for goods, services, and investments.

He cited anew a survey conducted by the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) in 2020, which showed that 83 percent of German companies deem the resumption of the Philippine-EU FTA “highly important.”

Last month, the GPCCI divulged that Philippine companies stand to gain from European firms that are adopting the “China Plus-one policy,” as they look to diversify their resources.

“We see a lot of efforts with the China plus-one policy here with the geostrategic way of going forward and we do see a lot of chances here for the Philippine companies to have a boost also from companies from Europe, not only from Germany, looking a bit over the edge of China to invest in the future and we are here to help,” Christopher Zimmer, Executive Director of GPCCI, told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Outlook 2023 last month.

Zimmer divulged that while he could not reveal figures and names of German firms willing to invest or expand in the Philippines, he said the German companies are “selecting now other investment places outside China.”

It’s worth noting that another European country, Czech Republic, is also eyeing the Philippine market as it looks into spreading out its export activity after bearing the brunt of a series of crises in Europe.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Czech chamber said it is keen on expanding their business engagements beyond European markets, especially in the Philippines, which it said is considered by Czech companies as a “great potential haven of investments.”


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