From left to right (seated): Lieve Wierinck (Belgium), Barbara Kappel (Austria), DTI Director Anne Cabochan. From left to right (back row): David Martin (United Kingdom), Richard Ashworth (United, Kingdom), Herbert Dorfmann (Italy), EU Ambassador Franz Jessen, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Csaba Sogor (Romania), Werner Langen (Germany and DASE Head), Peter Kouroumbashev (Bulgaria), DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, DTI Director Butch Benedictos, DTI Assistant Secretary Angelo Taningco.

MAKATI – Philippine (PH) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Ramon Lopez lauded PH-European Union (EU) economic relations and promoted PH exports and investments to the EU Parliament, represented by the Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and ASEAN (DASE) on 17 December. The EU delegation was led by Werner Langen from Germany, who serves as the chair of DASE.

In their meeting, Sec. Lopez conveyed to the DASE Parliamentarians that PH economy is now on a high growth trajectory that’s showcasing positive economic prospects for EU investors. He added that PH-EU trade relations have strengthened due to EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), which allows PH exports to enter the EU market duty-free.

In 2017, the EU is the PH’s 4th largest trading partner. It is also the 2nd largest export market at EUR7.2 billion of which 25% of PH exports to EU were via GSP+. The Secretary said the EU-GSP+ benefits Filipino farmers and fishermen since PH main export products to the EU include processed meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Secretary Lopez also shared that EU-GSP+ gives impetus for foreign companies to invest in PH and has benefited EU firms that put up production facilities in the PH. “A number of companies have established their manufacturing operations in the PH in order to take advantage of GSP+ benefits, thereby contributing to employment generation and the developmental goals of the country,” he said. DTI recently hosted the 3rd EU-GSP+ Monitoring Mission from 28 September to 3 October 2018 in Cebu and Manila.

To beef up its presence in the EU, DTI will soon hire a trade attaché for posting in Budapest, Hungary, to join the other attaches in Europe—specifically in Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Paris, France; and London, United Kingdom.

Also in the meeting was DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, who mentioned to DASE Parliamentarians that the PH has big aspirations for the aerospace sector and would want more investors from the EU in the sector. He assured the delegation that PH has strong protection for intellectual property, and posited that a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between PH and EU is a more sustainable mechanism to strengthen trade and investment relations of the two economies. The second round of FTA negotiations between the PH and EU was held on 13-17 February 2017 in Cebu City.♦


Date of Release: 20 December 2018