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Philippines pushes for swift EU free trade agreement before GSP+ status at risk

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual reaffirmed the Philippines’ determination to swiftly finalize a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) before the end of the Marcos Jr. administration.

Speaking during a press briefing, Pascual expressed confidence regarding the FTA’s completion under the current administration, emphasizing the momentum already established in the negotiations.

“Both sides are eager for it. We are eager for it,” he asserted, underlining the mutual desire for a successful agreement between the Philippines and the EU.

Pascual expressed satisfaction at the launch of the scoping process for the FTA, stressing its significance in solidifying economic relations, especially as the Philippines makes strides toward achieving upper-middle income status.

He underscored the necessity of forging ahead with the FTA to ensure robust economic ties with the EU, particularly in light of the potential loss of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status due to the Philippines’ ongoing economic growth.

The Department of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the inter-agency negotiating team, is fully committed to working closely with the European Commission to ensure a successful scoping exercise.

Pascual highlighted the strategic significance of the FTA, recognizing it as a crucial platform for fostering the EU’s economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, with the Philippines well-positioned to serve as a strategic trade partner.

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