Marcos pushes for PH-EU free trade to bolster economic recovery from COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday pushed for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) to bolster economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this time of economic recovery from the ravages caused by the pandemic and the current threats on the supply chain, I hope to see the proposed Philippine-EU Free Trade Agreement move beyond scoping negotiations soon,” Marcos said in his opening remarks at the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium.

He pointed out that with the start of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) among Asia-Pacific countries, the EU “misses out” on the benefit of having a similar agreement with the ASEAN.

“We encourage the EU to calibrate the scope and coverage of its proposed FTA to what is currently possible for ASEAN to collectively agree on so we can make concrete progress on the negotiations on the ASEAN-EU FTA,” he said.

Marcos said he is also looking forward to the continued implementation of the PH-EU Partnership Cooperation Agreement.

The exploratory scoping meetings between the Philippines and EU regarding the proposed FTA started in 2013. The last negotiation was held in 2017 in Cebu City.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), engaging the EU in an FTA would secure additional duty-free market access beyond those covered under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus scheme.

It would also help attract greater investments from EU member states, the DTI added.