Europe-PH News

Milestone Achieved: ECCP Celebrates Restart of EU-Philippines FTA Negotiations

March 18, 2024

ECCP Online

Europe-PH News

Manila, Philippines – The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) welcomes the official resumption of negotiations for the EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA). After a thorough stock-taking exercise, both the European Union (EU) and the Philippines have demonstrated strong political will to recommence talks, marking a significant milestone in bilateral economic relations.             

The EU recognizes the Philippines as a like-minded partner sharing values of democracy, sustainable development, rule of law, peace, and stability. This renewed interest underscores the attractiveness of the Philippines as a prime business destination for European firms, emphasizing the mutual benefits of fostering deeper economic ties.                       

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has expressed confidence in the timing and conditions for the resumption of negotiations, highlighting notable improvements in ease of doing business and economic openness through recent reforms. The urgency to conclude the FTA before the end of the current administration in 2028 is further emphasized, especially considering the impending expiration of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) in 2027.                      

The ECCP, through various initiatives, has actively pursued the advancement of the EU- Philippines FTA. Efforts include the publication of position papers, establishment of an FTA committee, and engagement in high-level dialogues with policymakers and business representatives from both regions, including the high-level business event on the occasion of the visit of Her Excellency Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. On 18 March 2024, ECCP joined related engagements on the resumption of the EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. 

The resumption of talks presents a crucial opportunity to enhance economic growth, deepen partnerships, promote sustainability, prosperity, and progress. With the Philippines among the fastest-growing economies in the region and boasting a young and dynamic population, the potential for mutually beneficial collaboration between the EU and the Philippines is vast.   

Likewise, the conclusion of an EU-PH FTA will not only benefit areas of trade and investment, bolstering competitiveness and enhancing economic opportunities, but also encourage the improvement of economic policies, including those specific to e-commerce, digital transformation, intellectual property, and procurement, among others. Such a deal holds immense potential to spur trade and investment opportunities, improve diversification, increase competitiveness and economic openness, generate better employment prospects, as well as accelerate breakthroughs in innovation and technology.                       

For the Philippines, the FTA offers a wide range of benefits including increased market access for highly protected sectors such as agriculture and garments. Minerals, digital trade, and energy sectors are also among those expected to benefit from the FTA.  

As negotiations progress, the ECCP remains committed to facilitating constructive dialogue and advocating for the interests of its members and the broader business community. The Chamber will continue to champion increased, sustainable trade and highlight the Philippines in the investment map.

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