Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual has called for stronger sustainable trade and development initiatives to address climate change during the second ministerial meeting of the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate on the sidelines of the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

'We believe that the work of the coalition complements the existing work at the WTO on trade and sustainable development. Thus, we welcome discussions and thematic sessions on the transfer of goods and technologies that support climate adaptation and mitigation,' Pascual said.

'In line with this, we must also ensure a fair and just transition toward achieving our climate goals so that no one will be left behind.'

Pascual also expressed the Philippine's support for the endorsement of the Coalition's Framework of Voluntary Actions, which sends a clear message for the WTO to pursue ambitious commitments in support of the global response to the climate crisis.

The trade chief emphasized that the joint dialogues on trade, climate and sustainable development will pave the way for the creation of innovative solutions supporting climate adaptation and mitigation.

During the meeting, the ministers also acknowledged the nexus between trade and climate and emphasized the need to utilize all available trade policy tools to address the effects of climate change.

The Second Ministerial Meeting gathered its members to discuss their respective countries' collective efforts, achievements, and priorities to address climate change.

The Philippines is a founding member of the Trade Ministers on Climate, which was established in 2023.

Apart from the meeting with the coalition, Pascual also met with Spanish Minister of Economy, Trade and Business Carlos Cuerpo Caballero on the sidelines of MC13 to discuss the trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Spain.

During the meeting, Pascual highlighted the significant role of Spain as the Philippines' major trade and investment partner in the European Union (EU).

'We are optimistic that our deepened collaboration in trade and investment with Minister Cuerpo will create a more open, transparent, and inclusive global trade environment for both the Philippines and Spain,' Pascual said.

Pascual emphasized that the two nations' bilateral trade has shown consistent growth over the last 10 years, recording a total of $1.2 billion in 2022.

He also expressed the Philippines' desire to increase its exports to Spain, particularly electronic equipment, fish products (tuna), fruits (bananas and pineapples), crude coconut oil and static converters.

Pascual invited Spanish businesses to explore growth and investment opportunities in the Philippines, highlighting the Philippine government's ongoing economic reforms and sustained efforts to enhance the country's investment climate.

He encouraged investments in areas such as public-private partnership projects, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), startups, renewable energy, green metals, manufacturing, agro-logistics and food.

Moreover, Pascual highlighted that the Philippine government continues to seek Spain's support for the country's reapplication to the EU's Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) - a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance in the form of zero duties - as well as for the resumption of the PH-European Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

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