UK LOOKS TO BI­LAT­ERAL FREETRADE AGREE­MENT WITH MANILA AF­TER BREXIT

Southeast Asia Globe - - Agenda -

Philip­pine Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez

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As the Philip­pines works to­wards em­pow­er­ing mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises (MSMEs) and im­prov­ing the ease of do­ing busi­ness, the UK has ex­pressed in­ter­est in cre­at­ing a trade agree­ment with the coun­try.

The dis­cus­sion comes as Lon­don ex­its the Eu­ro­pean Union through the tu­mul­tuous Brexit ini­tia­tive, mak­ing such di­rect agree­ments of higher im­por­tance to the coun­try as the UK goes it alone out­side the EU’s trade en­vi­ron­ment.

By es­tab­lish­ing the bi­lat­eral agree­ment, the two coun­tries could cap­i­talise on those prod­ucts and ser­vices that mu­tu­ally ben­e­fit them, but which might not have the same pull across the en­tirety of the EU, ac­cord­ing to Philip­pine Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez. As it stands, the UK is not one of the Philip­pines’ pri­mary trade part­ners, lo­cal me­dia re­ported him as say­ing, but the po­ten­tial agree­ment could serve as an op­por­tu­nity for Manila to strengthen its re­la­tion­ship and trade move­ment with one of the largest global economies.

“They ap­pre­ci­ate the strong cam­paigns of gov­ern­ment on anti-com­pe­ti­tion poli­cies, ease of do­ing busi­ness, reg­u­la­tory re­forms, and MSME train­ing,” Lopez said.

The agree­ment would be pos­si­ble only af­ter Brexit is com­pleted. In the mean­time, a UK mem­ber of par­lia­ment is set to visit the Philip­pines this month, where he is ex­pected to dis­cuss the trade agree­ment.

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