DUBAI, UAE–On 02 December 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual signed the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Negotiations of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi as part of DTI’s side activities at Conference of the Parties (COP)28.

The TOR for the Negotiations of the CEPA is the first step towards the proposed bilateral free trade agreement with the UAE. The TOR provides guidelines on the conduct of the negotiations and the scope and coverage of the proposed CEPA. The CEPA is envisioned to expand the flow of goods and services exports to the UAE and the greater Gulf region, generate more investments from UAE, and create more opportunities for professionals and service providers in the UAE.

The CEPA with the UAE will operationalize the Philippines’ trade strategy to enter new markets as envisaged in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2023 and the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028. The UAE is the Philippines’ 17th largest trading partner and the top export market among all Gulf Cooperation Council member states. Additionally, the UAE is the second home to one of the largest populations of overseas Filipinos in the Middle East, as well as well-known and home-grown Filipino brands and businesses. ♦

Date of Release: 02 December 2023