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Expanding German firms put high importance to EU-PH FTA

By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

A strong majority of German companies have put high importance the resumption of the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the Philippines and the European Union (EU-PH FTA) as they see expansion of their businesses in the country, according to a survey.

Results of the survey conducted by the German-Philippine Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GPCCI) and Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC) from 11 May to 24 May 2020 amongst German companies active and non-active in the Philippines whowed German firms putting a high importance at 83 percent the resumption of the bilateral EU-PH FTA discussions.

Based on the survey, 45 percent of German companies would expand their current investments, while more than 50 German companies participating in the survey would consider a first-time investment if the EUPHFTA liberalizes the current investment regime in the Philippines.

“The results show the huge potential for the Philippine-German and more general for the Philippine-European economic relation,” said GPCCI President Tristan Arwen Loveres. “We encourage that the next negotiation round should be scheduled this year.”

GPCCI’s Executive Director, Dr. Martin Henkelmann, added: “All countries and regions look for measures to stimulate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming years. A Philippine-EU Free Trade Agreement linking these two important economic players together would have a strong impulse.”

GPCCI Director Stefan Schmitz, also said during the webinar hosted by the chamber on “European Chambers Talk to EU Delegation: #Together we are Europe and the Philippines” stressed that the next step for the PH-EU relations is to move forward with the free trade agreement discussion.

“The next round should at least be scheduled to help address the many obstacles that EU firms face when they enter the Philippines. And we all agree that the Philippines has been and will be a bullish market. This market can be connected to EU through an FTA,” said Schmitz.

The survey received a high response rate of 210 which displays the importance of the topic and interest among the German companies in the resumption of the bilateral negotiations.

Bilateral negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union were launched in December 2015. To date, only two rounds of negotiations were held in May 2016 and February 2017. Germany is the largest trading partner of the Philippines in the European Union and its 11th largest global trading partner with a total trade volume of EUD 6.3 billion, with EUD 2.8 billion coming from Germany, and EUD 3.5 billion being exported to Germany.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/06/01/expanding-german-firms-put-high-importance-to-eu-ph-fta/)

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