EU, Philippines to
launch negotiations for free trade agreement
BRUSSELS, Dec. 22 (PNA/Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) and the
Philippines agreed on Tuesday to start negotiations for an EU-Philippines
The EU said in a statement the first round of negotiations was expected to
take place in the first half of 2016 in the Philippines.
The statement said the two sides agreed to conclude an agreement that covers
a broad range of issues, including elimination of customs duties and other
barriers to trade, services and investment, access to public procurement
markets, as well as additional disciplines in the area of competition and
protection of intellectual property rights.
The prospective agreement will also include a comprehensive chapter that
will ensure that closer economic relations between the EU and the
"Launching negotiations with the Philippines will represent an important
milestone in the EU-Philippines relations and a further evidence of the EU's
commitment to Southeast Asia," said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
She added that the Philippines has been one of the fastest growing economies
in the region in recent years thus the EU hope to seize the great potential
of that market of 100 million consumers.
The Philippines is one of the 10 members of the Association of South East
Asia (ASEAN), as well as the fifth largest economy in the region and the
biggest market in ASEAN. It is also the fifth country of the ASEAN to start
negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement with the EU. (PNA/Xinhua)