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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     May 24, 2017  








EU-PHL trade up despite complicated relations

Trade between the Philippines and the European Union grew in March despite the "complicated" relationship of the two economies, a report by JP Soriano on GMA News' "Balitanghali" on Tuesday said.

According to the report, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen noted the improved trading relations between the two economies.

Latest data available from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) revealed that trade between the Philippines and the EU registered a $384.52-million surplus in March, up from the $104.20-million surplus the same month in 2016.

Imports from the EU during the month totaled $516.71 million, 9.8 percent higher than the $470.80 million the previous year.

Meanwhile, exports to member countries of the EU were worth $901.24 million compared with the $576.93 million the same month in 2016.

This brought total trade with the EU to a total of $1.418 billion in March versus the $1.050 billion the previous year.

"(T)his seems to confirm messages I hear in the country of increasing production and EU demand in manufacturing and agri-food products," Jessen said in an earlier statement.

"EU's trade agenda is one of fair trade and of leaving nobody behind. And even though statistics are indications, these figures surely help the Philippines achieving its inclusive growth agenda," he added.

This, however, does not yet reflect the decision of Malaca?ang earlier this month to no longer accept aid from the EU, as a way of asserting the country's independent stance.

The EU has been critical of the administration's campaign against illegal drugs, the reported extrajudicial killings, and the reinstatement of the death penalty.

The economic bloc has already confirmed that the Philippines has rejected development aid from the bloc, which would mean the loss of about €250-million or $278.73-million worth of grants mostly allocated to Muslim communities.

Following the announcement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said that members of the economic team were not consulted regarding the matter, and that the rejection should not be treated as a policy yet.

For his part, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the recent development will not have an effect on the current Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) trading deal with the EU.

The EU, however, in March warned that the Philippines could possibly lose billions of dollars in trade deals should judicial concerns in the country persist.

The GSP+ agreement grants the Philippines zero duties on some 6,274 locally-made products.

However, the agreement – currently under review – requires the Philippine ratification of 27 international conventions which cater to human and labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance, among others.



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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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