EU, Philippines agree to launch free trade negotiations

Brussels, Rabi’I 11, 1437, Dec 22, 2015, SPA — The European Union and the Philippines agreed
Tuesday to launch negotiations on a free trade agreement, as part of
efforts by the economically struggling European bloc to boost ties
with South-East Asia, dpa reported.

“The Philippines has been one of the fastest growing economies in the
region in the recent years. We need to make sure our companies enjoy
right conditions to seize the great potential of that market of 100
million consumers,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

The first round of negotiations between the island nation and the
28-country EU is expected to take place in the first half of next
year in the Philippines.

The EU is keen to eliminate customs duties, but also warned that any
agreement will seek to ensure that “closer economic relations … go
hand-in-hand with environmental protection and social development.”

13:53 LOCAL TIME 10:53 GMT