Update 1: Changes headline, updates throughout with trade talks, quotes
Manila, Jul 31 (EFE).- Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday in Manila they’d resume negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two parties after eight years without progress.
“Philippine government experts will work with the European Commission to achieve a bilateral free trade agreement,” Marcos said in a statement at the Malacanang presidential palace with Von der Leyen, after their Monday meeting.
Von der Leyen, the first commission president to visit the Philippines, added that the EU is the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner and its first foreign investor, for which she expressed the need to take trade relations “to the next level,” since “much more” can be done.
“The teams will work now to create the right conditions to resume negotiations. (A free trade agreement) has enormous potential for both, both in terms of growth and jobs,” the European leader said.
He said “the cost of economic dependence,” indirect reference to China, for which he indicated that an agreement can help “diversify supply chains” and can also contribute to modernize both economies thanks to technological cooperation.
Von Der Leyen met Marcos to begin her two-day official visit to the Philippines. The two entities last held negotiations for a trade agreement in 2015, a year before the presidential term of Rodrigo Duterte, who prioritized economic relations with China.
Bilateral trade between the Philippines and the EU reached EUR 18.4 billion in 2022. EFE