August 02, 2023
Several European business chambers and business groups expressed strong support for the resumption of the negotiations for the PH-EU Free Trade Agreement.
“The PH-EU FTA serves as a platform for the EU’s economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, where the Philippines can play a vital role as its strategic trade partner. We recognize the significance of this opportunity and are committed to realizing its full potential,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
Pascual commended efforts of both the public and private sectors in pushing for the resumption of the negotiation. He said the FTA would generate millions of jobs for the Filipino people.
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Paulo Duarte announced the creation of a committee to oversee the FTA negotiations and ensure strong collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors.
Echoing Pascual’s emphasis on the enabling business environment in the Philippines, Duarte underscored several points on why the Philippines is an ideal investment destination.
He said these include favorable tailwind from the macroeconomic side; recent economic reforms that opened the Philippine economy to foreign investments; efforts of the Marcos administration to extend its relationship with the EU; attractive market size with about 117 million population; and presence of a young, dynamic workforce.
“We remain bullish for the FTA since now is the right moment to do it. The efforts of the visit of President Marcos Jr. last December and the three-week investment roadshow promoting the Philippines for investments are the good things that highlight the interests of the investors as well as the European Union,” he said.
German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. senior vice president Marie Antoniette Mariano said German businesses are very supportive of the FTA alongside the GPCCI.
She said she looks forward to working with the Philippine government in realizing the goals of the FTA.
French Chamber of Commerce and Industry managing director Kevin Charuel expressed full support for the negotiations as this would also help French businesses grow. He said he looks forward to the conclusion of the negotiations and is committed to assisting the Philippines towards it.
IT Business Process Association of the Philippines president Jack Madrid said that during the roadshow in Europe, the industry opened the eyes of investors as they discussed the Filipino workforce that has been proven agile and resilient throughout the past decades, growing its work force today to 1.6 million employees.
Confederation of Wearables Exporters of the Philippines executive director Maritess Jocson-Agoncillo, said the FTA would have a huge impact on strengthening and reducing the tariff of garments and wearables that would eventually contribute to the growth of the sector.
DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the FTA would also support other sectors such as agriculture which he described as usually highly protected when looking at the tariff profile of most advanced economies.
Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines president Dan Lachica said that the FTA is more than the tariff and non-tariff barriers, and that the bigger benefits lie in its potential to develop and grow the electronics industry.
Contact Center Association of the Philippines managing director Rosario Cajucom-Bradbury, who also serves as the corporate secretary at the Swiss Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, committed to doing the business organization’s part in raising an additional 1.1 million jobs.
These jobs are expected to contribute greatly to the government’s efforts to revitalize the economy, as well as initiatives aimed at making the Philippines an export powerhouse. Pascual asked all European business chambers to work collaboratively with the Philippine government and enable the establishment of a more solid partnership with the EU to drive economic growth and prosperity.