Free trade agreements (FTAs) are beneficial for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) as this can bring more investments in the export zones, its Director General Tereso Panga has said. This, as the PEZA chief welcomed the interest of both parties for the resumption of negotiations of the European Union (EU)-Philippines FTA. On the sidelines of the signing of a joint memorandum circular between PEZA and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) last week, Panga was looking forward to the Philippines would soon have free trade deals with South Korea, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Canada after the country acceded to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP entered into force for the country on June 2, 2023. The Philippines-South Korea FTA has also been concluded and only waiting for the signing of the two leaders of both countries. 'There's one with UAE to tap into the Middle East market, and out of North America is FTA with Canada will also be a factor in promoting investments,' Panga added. The Philippines and UAE have been negotiating for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which is being eyed for conclusion this year, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Canada, on the other hand, aims to have an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which the Philippines is a member state. Data from PEZA shared with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday note that total investments of EU companies in economic zones amounted to PHP389 billion, PHP92.2 billion from South Korea, PHP8.4 billion from Canada, and PHP1.26 billion from the entire Middle East. Meanwhile, Panga said having a bilateral free trade deal with the EU will secure the benefits of PEZA locators exporting to the European market. 'A lot of our locators are exporting to the EU and used to benefit from the GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus). Now, because of this impending renewal and non-renewal (of GSP+), whatever is the case, I think it makes sense for the Philippine government… to engage EU in terms of signing a free trade agreement. Something bilateral between the Philippines and the EU, which will be a more protection to our exporters to the whole of Europe,' he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency