CEBU, Philippines — With over 6,000 products under the new European Union's Generalized System Preferences Plus (GSP+), the EU delegation is reaching out to the Visayas market to consider Europe as a potential market to drive export growth.
Organized by European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (EU), the European delegation headed by Ambassador Franz Jessen was in Cebu to open up doors for businesses in the Visayas to take advantage of the 510 million consumers in the EU.
As an economy, Jessen said EU is growing pretty well, and that it is therefore a good time for Visayan businesses to enter the European market with practically all the potential products under zero or minimal tariff.
EU is the Philippines' second largest export market and it targets to overtake Japan as the country's number one export market before the end of this year, said Jessen who heads the EU delegation.
In the first six months of this year, the Philippines export to Europe increased by 38 percent, way faster than the growth generated by Philippines' export to China.
A higher growth in the two-way trade is also expected, as EU moves to intensify linkage with the Philippines, the Ambassador added.
In the first quarter of 2017, investments coming from EU countries reached to P10.3 billion, making EU as the largest foreign investor of the Philippines for the quarter.
Cebu for instance, can take advantage of several products that are in demand in EU, such as electrical machinery and equipment, machinery and mechanical appliances, animal or vegetable fats and oils, furniture; lamps and lighting fittings, edible fruits and nuts; vegetables, fruits, nuts and plants; among others.
Aside from opening its rich market to the Philippine products through zero or cheap tariff, EU is also offering its hands to help the Philippines--through its development assistance in diverse sectors such as energy, medical, most significantly in the peace process initiatives.
According to the ambassador, the resolution of peace and order in the Philippines, citing the ongoing martial law regime in Mindanao, is a critical key factor to secure economic growth in the Philippines,
"Europe is indeed rich and we have the resources to be generous. And we are generous," he told businessmen in Cebu explaining that the Union is allocating huge funds for the Philippines' several developmental projects.
ECCP is also boosting its membership base in Cebu or the Visyayas to aid businesses to have smooth market entry to the European market.
ECCP currently has 125 company members in the Visayas. The recently concluded event dubbed "Doing Business with Europe; Opportunities for Visayas Based Companies ."
The event intended to explore opportunities for Visayas based companies and communicate EU support to Cebuano-European business.
Source: Ehda M. Dagooc, The Freeman
Photo from Google -- Inquirer Business