European Union (EU) Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that if the Philippines revised its Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) to open sectors such as energy, services and finance, bilateral trade and investments between EU and the Philippines could double in five years. This is even if EU is currently the country’s largest foreign investor at 7.6 billion euros.
Current trade and interest has been steadily improving among the Philippines and EU member states, including Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, and even the UK, which has sent multiple missions to the Philippines. These EU states are eyeing or are engaged in infrastructure, cement production, car parts, hotels and resorts, and the booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Reasons for the strong interest are the country’s improved investment grade, the governments’ anti-corruption and reform efforts, huge improvements in macroeconomics and other positive developments.
Ledoux pointed out other events to look forward to: the Department of Trade and Industry is targeting to finish the scoping agreement before year-end that could initiate negotiations on a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and EU; an EU group will be visiting in June to review if any progress has been made in bilateral trade and investment relations; and the possible approval of the Philippines’ application for expanded trade privileges under EU’s new Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+) scheme that will benefit Philippine exporters by as much as PHP 38 billion a year. This scheme will remove duties on 61% of Philippine products under the general GSP.
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