Marcos: Time is ripe to resume ‘win-win’ PH-EU free trade talks

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday called for the resumption of the long-standing talks on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU).

“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 Philippines-EU Free Trade Agreement,” he said Thursday.

Exploratory talks for the proposed PH-EU FTA started in 2013. Formal negotiations for the trade deal officially began in May 2016.

The second and final round of negotiations then took place last February 2017 in Cebu.

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

The president said such a deal was “a win-win strategy for both Philippines and the EU,” as it would aid the two parties in achieving mutually beneficial economic goals “while maintaining the EU’s core ideals of sustainable development and environment protection as well as with the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy.”

“If and when that happens, it could very well be the capstone of all efforts to strengthen Philippine and EU relations over the course of the next decades,” he added.

Marcos, during his trip to Brussels, Belgium for the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit last December, pushed for the resumption of Philippines-EU FTA negotiations.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that an FTA between the Philippines and the EU would secure additional duty-free market access on top of access covered by the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus scheme, and that it would improve foreign investments from EU countries.