Wednesday, July 17, 2024

PCCI Welcomes Revival of PH-EU FTA Talks

PCCI Welcomes Revival of PH-EU FTA Talks

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Citing the economic benefits it will bring to the country, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) welcomed the resumption of the free trade negotiations between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) to strengthen bilateral cooperation and deepen economic ties, bringing more market and investment opportunities for both countries.

PCCI President Enunina V. Mangio expressed optimism that this development will lead to a meaningful conclusion of the trade negotiations after several years of being stalled due to concerns on intellectual property, human rights violations and compliance with carbon emission standards.

“The PCCI welcomes the resumption of the PH-EU FTA talks. The FTA should be able to expand on opportunities, especially in services such as BPO and KPO (knowledge process outsourcing), digital commerce and agri-technology,” Mangio said.

She cited how Philippine companies benefitted from the EU-GSP+ agreement, a special incentive extended to the Philippines in 2014, which led to an increase of PH exports to EU.

“While it covered only over 6000 commodities (or 66 percent of EU tariff lines), our exports rose by 27 percent just one year after we were given that incentive,” Mangio added.

PCCI Chairman George T. Barcelon, for his part, stressed that Philippine negotiators should also be extra cautious in giving in to certain conditionalities imposed by the EU and ensure that these are justifiable and fair based on the country’s level of development.

“There are other areas of concern as well, for example, those that impose high carbon emission standards that, for emerging economies, are barriers to attaining a higher level of growth. The EU must be realistic in its expectations of the Philippines. While being able to leverage on our comparative advantages for a PH-EU partnership, our negotiators must ensure we can comply without having to compromise our development,” Barcelon said.

In 2023, the EU emerged as the Philippines 5th largest trading partner with total trade amounting to USD 16.16 billion (8.1% share to PH total trade), the 6th export market with USD 8.37 billion, and the 6th import supplier valued at USD 7.79 billion. Similarly, the EU has been a major foreign investment partner, with total foreign direct investments reaching USD 29.16 million in 2022 and USD 63.99 billion in 2023.

This year, the PCCI, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (PCCI), plans to roll out an information campaign on the various FTAs the Philippines has with our countries including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and this PH-EU FTA.