EU pushes for free trade deal with the Philippines

Posted at 12/12/12 4:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union's head of delegation says the Philippines could attract more European investments if it would lift restrictions to foreign direct investments.

The EU has already begun talks for a free trade deal with Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam but it says it's still waiting for the Philippines' cue to go to the negotiating table.

"If the Philippine economy becomes more open to foreign investors, European companies would certainly be more open to investing here. You know foreign investments in the Philippines is about $1 billion... European companies would come here massively on production facilities, in industrial sector if it would be possible," Ambassador Guy Ledoux, head of EU Delegation to the Philippines, said on ANC's Inside Business.

Ledoux says the Philippines stands to benefit from more trade with Europe.

The Philippines is a major exporter of coconut oil to the region but Ledoux says there's potential for exports of other agricultural products such as tuna and processed food.

"It's up to the Philippine government to decide when they're ready to start negotiating for a free trade agreement... We're still waiting," Ledoux said.

PH BPOs can expand in Europe

Michael Raeuber, president of the European Chamber of Commerce, said Philippine BPOs can also expand in Europe.

"The Philippine BPO business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last few years. It's a very successful industry now but only 10% of the activities  are euro bound so there's a wide field for expansion," he said also on ANC's Inside Business.

Raeuber added Filipino professionals can also have more access to Europe's labor market."Europe is graying, as a matter of fact, industry in Europe needs educated engineers, IT specialists. Philippines is one of the leading countries exporting labor professionals. Obviously there is a good match," he said.

Catch the full interview with Ledoux and Raeuber tonight on ANC's Inside Business at 7:30 p.m.