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PH-EU free trade talks could start ’very soon’

The Manila Times - 05 March 2024

PH-EU free trade talks could start ’very soon’

The Philippines hopes to launch formal negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union "very soon," Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

The Southeast Asian nation, which depends heavily on trade with China, wants to expand its economic relations with other countries to achieve greater "resiliency," he said.

"We’re hoping... to very soon begin free trade negotiations with the EU," Manalo said.

The Philippines has been in preliminary talks about a free trade deal with the 27-nation bloc for months.

A previous effort almost a decade ago stalled amid EU concerns about then-president Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war.

"What we’re really aiming for is the notion of greater economic resilience," Manalo said, underscoring the importance of being able to adapt to "sudden changes," whether man-made or natural.

The Philippines is focused on creating "greater economic security and economic resiliency, which in turn contributes to your own national security," he added.

The EU and the Philippines will seek to establish greater cooperation in the area of critical minerals, Manalo said, using existing supply chains but with more processing activity in the Philippines.

 source: The Manila Times