Finance Secretary Ralph Recto has floated the potential of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada as he sought more economic and investment opportunities with one of the world's biggest economies.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Recto met with Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines David Bruce Hartman to discuss efforts that could strengthen ties and boost economic and investment cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, Recto brought up the possibility of pursuing a bilateral FTA with Canada, noting the progress in the ongoing negotiations through the ASEAN-Canada FTA.

Since last year, Canada has been seeking the support of the Philippines for the ASEAN-Canada FTA negotiations and in elevating Canada's dialogue relations with the region to a strategic-level partnership.

Recto also pitched the potential of Canada becoming a demographic partner given the Philippines' young and dynamic workforce.

This 2024, Canada and the Philippines are set to mark 75 years of bilateral relations.

Hartman said Canada intends to ramp up investments in the Philippines, particularly in physical infrastructure, agriculture, power and clean energy.

Canada is also interested in investing in the local mining industry to help the Philippines transition from being a part of the supply chain to becoming a critical player in the value chain.

Recto noted that both countries are eager to expedite a government-to-government arrangement to facilitate Canadian support for more development projects in the Philippines.

On the other hand, Canadian insurance firms are seen benefiting from the Philippines' reforms in passive income and financial intermediary taxation, which will harmonize the tax on life and health insurance to a two percent premium tax.

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