PH-EU FTA to encourage more investments – PBBM

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

March 16, 2024, 9:14 am

<p><em>(Photo from PCO)</em></p>

(Photo from PCO)

MANILA – The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) will be a big boost to the Philippines when it comes to securing more foreign investments, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has said.

This was after Marcos, during his state visit to the Czech Republic, pushed for the resumption of negotiations for the FTA between the Philippines and the EU.

“That’s essentially what the trade agreement is about. And so that hopefully, that will provide us a structure to encourage more investment in the Philippines,” he said in a media interview in Prague on Friday night (Manila time).

“The FTA will give it a structure, kaya’t (so that) even the private corporations, they hope that it will be finalized already.”

The President said Czech officials are “very much in favor” of the revival of the FTA talks.

During the Philippines-Czech Business Forum at Czernin Palace on Friday, Marcos said the resumption of talks for the FTA would be a “big step” in furthering the Philippines’ trade ties with the EU member-states, including the Czech Republic.

He also noted that the free trade deal would help establish “a stable, predictable, and enabling business environment that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth and development.”

The Philippines and the EU launched exploratory talks on bilateral FTA in 2013.

There were also two negotiations in Brussels in 2016 and in Cebu in 2017 but the talks have been on hiatus until now.

Trade in meat products

Meanwhile, Marcos said he would push for the exploration of trade in meat products during the visit of Czech agriculture officials and business leaders to the Philippines next week.

He said the Czech Republic has an avian flu vaccine and is set to develop a swine flu vaccine that could be procured by the Philippines.

Ang interes natin diyan (Our interest there) is, of course, the trade in meat products. Sila, meron silang exportation ng beef (They have beef exportation). They have technologies para ‘yung gamot para pagandahin ang lagay ng mga inaalagaan nilang livestock (for the medicine to improve the condition of their livestock),” he said.

“So, those are the kinds of areas that we’re looking at. It’s really in terms of trade dahil (because) we don’t grow the same products, we do not have seasons like they have here in the Czech Republic. But in terms of livestock, I think maraming, marami tayong makukuhang bagong technology (we can acquire a lot of new technologies from them).”

Malacañang on Friday announced that Czech President Petr Pavel would send a business delegation led by Czech Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný to the Philippines next week, in line with Marcos’ bid to expand cooperation with the Czech Republic in terms of food security.

Marcos said he had a “productive” Prague trip where he tried to sell the Philippines as a good investment hub.

“Of course, we continue to look for investments, we continue to invite people to come into the Philippines and to make serious capital investments,” he said. (PNA)