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PH, UAE cap 1st round of FTA nego ; latter targets conclusion in 2024

Philippines News Agency - 16 May 2024

PH, UAE cap 1st round of FTA nego ; latter targets conclusion in 2024
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capped the first round of negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), with the former targeting to conclude the talks by the end of 2024.

The discussions were held in Dubai from May 6 to 8, with Trade Undersecretary Allan Gepty leading the Philippine negotiation team and Ministry of Economy International Trade Affairs Sector Assistant Secretary Juma Alkait for the UAE side.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said the initial round covered some chapters that outline the guidelines for the negotiations.

These include “Trade in Goods” which aims to attain the highest degree of tariff liberalization for Philippine products of interest while safeguarding highly sensitive products and the “Rules of Origin,” aiming to secure liberal rules of origin for Philippine products of interest.

The two sides also tackled customs procedures and trade facilitation, aiming to achieve “more facilitative, transparent, and predictable procedures” for conducting trade.

Also discussed were chapters on “Technical Barriers to trade” and “Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures.”

The DFA said the “Investments” chapter was covered, focusing on the protection of Philippine businesses in the UAE and ways to attract more investments from the UAE through promotion and facilitation.

“Given the large number of Filipino professionals and businesses in the UAE, CEPA is a most important FTA (Free Trade Agreement), which the Philippine negotiations team aims to conclude within the year as the (Philippines and UAE) celebrate 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations,” the DFA said.

CEPA, a bilateral FTA, is envisioned to expand the flow of export goods and services to the UAE, generate more investments from UAE, and create more opportunities for professionals and service providers.

The Philippines and the UAE signed the CEPA’s Terms of Reference on Dec. 2, marking the initial step for the proposed bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries.

 source: Philippines News Agency