MANILA – The Philippines and European Union (EU) are nearly finished in their scoping talks for the potential negotiation on a free trade agreement (FTA), EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron said Wednesday.
During the 2023 Pilipinas Conference in Makati, the envoy said the two nations are “on track” to finish the process by the end of the year.
Veron said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had agreed to review first different chapters that would form part of the FTA and “see whether we could potentially agree”.
“What is happening now is what we call the stocktaking so basically measuring the level of ambitions per chapter. It’s a very important phase because if you want to be successful in (having) a reasonable time for negotiation you need to calibrate where you want to land in terms of ambition,” he said.
“When the president of the European Commission came here, she said there was an intent on the part of the European Commission to restart the negotiations on an FTA,” he pointed out.
The European Union Delegation in Manila said at least three rounds of scoping talks have been convened since the announcement of FTA discussion in September.
“It’s an important element, we are a market of 350 million consumers so definitely an FTA with the EU is a big deal,” Veron said. (PNA)