Germany and Czech Republic Support Philippines in FTA Talks with EU

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Strong Support for the Resumption of Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

In a recent statement, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his satisfaction with the strong support received from Germany and the Czech Republic regarding the resumption of negotiations for the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU). This news comes as a positive development for both countries, as the FTA holds the potential to foster increased investment and economic growth.

Recognizing the Importance of the Free Trade Agreement

During a media delegation in Prague, President Marcos emphasized the significance of the FTA and its potential to strengthen partnerships and joint ventures between the Philippines and the EU. He highlighted the need for continuity and completion of the agreement, particularly when engaging with EU officials. The FTA would provide a structured framework that clarifies the rules for both sides, thereby encouraging more investment in the Philippines.

A Consistent Position from the European Union

President Marcos also acknowledged the consistent support from EU member states regarding the FTA. He noted that the EU’s focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Indo-Pacific region further underscores the importance of the agreement. This unified stance from the EU demonstrates their commitment to fostering economic and strategic ties with the Philippines and the ASEAN region as a whole.

Advancing Towards Formal Negotiations

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo expressed the Philippine government’s hope to launch formal negotiations for the EU-Philippines FTA. The negotiations initially began in 2015, with the last round held in Cebu City in 2017. However, due to various reasons, negotiations have been put on hold since then. The resumption of negotiations would provide an opportunity to address any outstanding issues and move towards a mutually beneficial agreement.

Current Trade Preferences and Potential Benefits

In the meantime, the Philippines currently enjoys trade preferences under the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). This special incentive arrangement aims to promote sustainable development and good governance by granting duty-free access to the EU market for two-thirds of tariff lines. While the GSP has been beneficial, the FTA would provide even greater opportunities for trade and investment between the Philippines and the EU.

Conclusion

The strong support from Germany and the Czech Republic for the resumption of negotiations for the EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement is a positive development for both countries. President Marcos and Secretary Manalo’s commitment to advancing towards formal negotiations reflects the importance of fostering stronger economic ties between the Philippines and the EU. As negotiations progress, it is hoped that the FTA will not only provide a structured framework for partnerships and investments but also enhance trade opportunities and economic growth for both parties involved.

Source: The Manila Times

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