QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. urged the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) for negotiations for a bilateral Philippine-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to resume.
During the EU-ABC Annual General Meeting Gala Dinner in Makati City, President Marcos said the Philippines is showing healthy signs of recovery from the economic decline caused by the pandemic and he is proud of its 7.6% GDP growth rate in 2022.
He believed this “signifies that there is a highly resilient sector of very strong economic activity in the country.”
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2023-2028 was rolled out earlier this year and was approved by President Marcos shortly after the Business Summit in Brussels last December.
The administration has broadened the range of liberalized businesses and sectors which includes public services, retail trade, and renewables, amongst others, and has made the system of corporate taxation more business-friendly, with a lowered tax rate and improved mechanism for tax and duties incentives.
Marcos believes “all these bodes well for a more productive relationship between the Philippines and the EU and these enhance the features of the Philippines as an attractive trade and investment destination.”
“So, this solid enabling environment will pave the way for our compliance with vital international obligations as determined by the EU. This condition of compliance will, in turn, guarantee our continued participation in the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme,” he said.
The government is positive that soon, there will be a marked growth of the country’s MSME sector and export market in the EU as a result of the GSP+ and that this will encourage more foreign investments in the manufacturing sector.
The president believes that with this conducive business atmosphere, the timing and conditions are now quite ripe to solidify the long-standing and historically beneficial trade relations: through a bilateral Philippine-EU Free Trade Agreement.
“So, we now have before us so many opportunities. We now have before us so many – so much potential in terms of growth, in terms of expanding the roles of the EU in ASEAN and of course in the Philippines,” the President concluded. (ARB, PIA-CPSD)