EU TRADE MISSION TO VISIT PH
A European Union (EU) business delegation will visit the Philippines later this month in search of business opportunities connected to green energy, the Board of Investments (BOI) announced yesterday.
The delegation, which belongs to the EU Business Avenues (EUBA) in South East Asia Programme, will represent 39 prominent and up-and-coming firms.
“The visit is part of the twoleg Green Energy Technologies Business Mission, looking into Singapore and the Philippines’ business opportunities in sectors such as hydropower, wind, smart grid, infrastructure, solar energy and biomass,” the BOI statement said.
The announcement came on the heels of President Duterte threatening EU ambassadors to leave the Philippines within 24 hours from Thursday afternoon. The outburst resulted from the visit of some European parliamentarians earlier this week to criticize Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs and political persecution of opposition. The EU had clarified that it had nothing to do with that delegation’s visit.
BOI said that the Philippine leg of the Green Energy Technologies business mission—the sixth mission under the EUBA program—would be held on Oct. 26 and 27 in time for the Energy Smart Philippines 2017.
Organized and funded by EU’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, the EUBA aims to strengthen the presence of European companies in Southeast Asia by organizing one-week business missions to the region where matchmaking and other business support services would be done.
This comes as a bill in the Senate wants to institutionalize a foundation for a comprehen- sive energy efficiency policy framework. The bill, named the Energy Efficiency and Conversation Act of 2017, is sponsored by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian said that there could be a total of P1.6 trillion in savings from 2018 to 2030, or an average of P126.4 billion annually, if the Philippines becomes half as energy efficient as Germany, which is among the world’s top energy-efficient countries.
He added that the savings could even reach P5.5 trillion, or P420 billion a year, if the country fully meets Germany’s efficiency standard, adding that this would also translate to less dependence on foreign coal.
EU has been one of the most important economic partners of the Philippines, playing huge roles in terms of trade and investment. The EU embassy in Manila as well as EU businesses have insisted on keeping strong ties with the Philippine government despite the occasional hurdles brought by the Duterte administration’s politics.
For its part, government officials, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), have stressed that the economic relationship with EU remained mutually beneficial. This comes as some stakeholders raised caution that Mr. Duterte’s violent war on drugs might affect the country’s preferential trade arrangement with the bloc, known as the GSP+.
The Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP +) allows zero tariffs on more than 6,000 Philippine products that are exported to the EU. This perk, which only a few countries enjoy and the Philippines being the only Asean nation to benefit from it, is given on condition that the beneficiary state adheres to certain international conventions, including one concerning human right.