European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr. met earlier this month on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN 20th summit in Phnom Penh to discuss the general contents of the upcoming bilateral deal.
“We discussed the chapters in the EPA economic partnership agreement. They wanted additional chapters to the agreement such as government procurement, environment, labor, intellectual property rights, competition, and human rights,” Mr. Cristobal said on the sidelines of a press briefing with the Trade department.
“On our part, we said we were looking at greater market access, development cooperation, trade in service, and more trade facilitation activities,” he added.
The informal meeting with Mr. De Gucht came ahead of an upcoming scoping exercise for the EU-Philippines free trade agreement FTA. Scoping exercises, as a prelude to formal FTA negotiations, are conducted to determine which industry sectors, regulatory policies, economic and business laws, and government procedures can and will be covered by the terms of the FTA.
In a related development, the Trade department has commissioned from the Philippine Institute of Development Studies an impact study on the upcoming bilateral agreement.
Results of the study are expected to come out in June, Mr. Cristobal said. The study is intended to guide the Trade department’s initiatives to pursue another round of private sector and government consultations on the FTA.Meanwhile, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority PEZA is eyeing more European investments in the business process outsourcing BPO, according to a statement released yesterday.
“We hope that even more EU investors will make use of the PEZA’s business-friendly environment in the future,” the statement quoted PEZA Director-General Lilia B. de Lima as saying during a meeting with EU ambassadors yesterday.
The EU diplomats visited Vestas Services Philippines, Inc., a European BPO company specializing in renewable energy located in the PEZA zone in Makati City.