DFA: PH eyes 'balanced, modern' FTA with EU 

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

March 21, 2024, 5:24 pm

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday that the Philippines looks forward to crafting a "balanced and modern" free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) as negotiations for the deal resume soon.

The DFA said the European Commission would be involved in the formal talks for the FTA, which is expected to be held by the third quarter of 2024.

The Philippines and EU's working level experts concluded a series of stock-taking discussions in Dec. 2023 after the Manila visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, when she and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced their intention to re-launch the FTA negotiations.

"During the visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Germany and the Czech Republic, the President emphasized the importance of the PH-EU FTA in achieving shared prosperity, stable economic growth and sustainable development not only for the Philippines but also for the Indo-Pacific region," the DFA said.

"We look forward to further coordination and dialogue with the EU in pursuit of a comprehensive, balanced, and modern FTA."

READ: Next round of EU-PH FTA eyed in Q3 2024 

The first negotiation for a Philippine-EU FTA was launched in Dec. 2015, with the first round held in May 2016 and the second in Feb. 2017.

This was stalled after the EU raised concerns on humanitarian issues in the Philippines.

In announcing the decision to conduct a scoping exercise, the European Commission in 2023 said the EU "aims for a comprehensive FTA that includes ambitious market access commitments, swift and effective sanitary and phytosanitary procedures, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights, including Geographical Indications. (PNA)