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EU, Philippines Launch FTA Talks

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

23 December 2015

The European Union (EU) and the Philippines are to launch negotiations in 2016 towards a free trade agreement that will eliminate customs duties.

According to the European Commission, both sides will seek an agreement that covers a broad range of issues, including customs duties, barriers to trade, services and investment, access to public procurement markets, competition, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The Commission said that the agreement will also include a comprehensive chapter on environmental protection and social development.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "Launching negotiations with the Philippines will represent an important milestone in the EU-Philippine relations and a further evidence of the EU's commitment to Southeast Asia. The Philippines has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region in the recent years. We need to make sure our companies enjoy right conditions to seize the great potential of that market of 100 million consumers."

The EU had launched negotiations toward a region-to-region FTA with the Association of South East Asia (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member. However, talks were paused in 2009 in favor of a bilateral format. To date, the EU has completed bilateral agreements with Singapore and Vietnam. The EU is the Philippines' fourth-largest trading partner.

TAGS: environment | tax | investment | European Commission | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | intellectual property | tariffs | trade treaty | Philippines | Singapore | excise duty | agreements | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Vietnam | services | Europe

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