The Department of Trade and Industry organized a business program for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the side lines of his participation in the ASEAN-EU Summit in Brussels next week.
The preparations include roundtable and business meetings with select European companies that have major presence or have plans to do business in the Philippines, according to the Office of the Trade Secretary.
It said one of its long-term goals is to resume negotiations for free trade agreement between the Philippines- and the European Union.
“The Philippines-EU FTA is the more important and permanent mechanism in PH’s relationship with the EU and the GSP+ is just a stepping-stone towards it,” said DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
He said a bilateral FTA with the Philippines is consistent with the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.
“Similarly, the Philippines can support the EU’s goal to diversify suppliers and enhance its cooperation on supply chains in the ASEAN region,” he said.
The FTA will be a stable platform to optimize the benefits of the large market in the EU and can take advantage of Philippines existing FTA network by increasing its investments in the manufacturing sector and accessing the big market in the region.
The DTI said that while the Philippines awaits the resumption of the Philippine-EU FTA negotiations, it remains committed to maintaining the country’s EU GSP+ beneficiary status.
The Philippines is poised to submit its application for the new GSP+ which will expire by end-2023.
The DTI said it sees a big opportunity for EU businesses to expand in the Philippines—not just to access the huge domestic market—but also to use the Philippines as a base for manufacturing.
The Philippines views the EU as an important trade and investment partner to ASEAN.
Economic cooperation initiatives will be prioritized on areas of mutual interest in order to bridge the gap and realize this long-term objective of an ASEAN-EU FTA, according to the DTI.
Pascual will lead the Philippine delegation to Brussels for the ASEAN-EU Summit. He is designated as a panelist in one of the activities pursuing the GSP+ and FTA agenda.