n the middle of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic that is currently sweeping the globe, the European Union (EU) and the Philippines have jointly convened a “friendly and constructive” sub-committee meeting on trade, investment, and economic cooperation with a focus on the country’s implementation of the GSP+ (Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus).
Held over the weekend, the first sub-committee bilateral meeting was conducted under the auspices of the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).
Peter Berz, EU’s Head of Unit for South and South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand in DG TRADE, and Allan Gepty, DTI Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group led the virtual conference.
The GSP+ is a trade preference that allows the Philippines to export goods to the European market duty-free provided that the country commits to effectively implement at least 27 international core conventions covering labor rights, human rights, good governance, and environmental concerns.
In a statement, the EU Delegation in Manila said the discussions extended to market access issues, regulatory developments, regional trade agreements and reforms in the multilateral trading system, and areas for future engagement and cooperation.
The EU noted the usefulness of their discussions even more so at a time when working together and reinforcing international cooperation is crucial for recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
The subcommittee on Trade, Investment, and Economic Cooperation was initially established after the EU-Philippines PCA entered into force in 2019.
The first EU-Philippines PCA committee meeting took place exactly two years ago which provided the mandate for the establishment of various subcommittees, including the one on trade, investment, and economic cooperation.