The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) expects investments from European companies to increase with the resumption of the Philippines - European Union free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

'With the initiatives of President Marcos and his economic team in constantly positioning the Philippines in the global investment landscape, we are positive that investors from the EU will look at the country for their investment ventures especially with the presence of an FTA,' PEZA director general Tereso Panga said.

There are currently 202 PEZA-registered projects with equity from EU countries generating about P300 billion of cumulative investments, $12 billion of exports and providing over 50,000 direct jobs.

'The FTA would strengthen both the Philippines and the EU's bilateral trade and economic relations, making an ecosystem fit for our agile investors given that the EU is the Philippines' fifth largest trade partner,' Panga said.

Trade Secretary and PEZA Board chairman Alfredo Pascual and European Commission executive vice president and trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis announced the restart of the FTA negotiations between the Philippines and the EU last week.

The FTA aims to provide enhanced market access for goods, services and investments, going beyond the benefits of the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme.

The Philippines has been enjoying duty-free entry for two-thirds of all product categories entering the EU market under the GSP+.

'The EU FTA and the renewed GSP+ status will help the Philippines in its bid to attract EU FDI (foreign direct investments) from diverse strategic industries, catering to both domestic and export markets,' Panga said.

Meanwhile, the PEZA recently conducted its first-ever investment mission to Madrid, Spain to promote the country's economic zones.

During the investment mission organized by the San Carlos Development Board Inc., San Carlos City, Negros Occidental local government unit, Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales and the Philippine Embassy in Madrid last March 18 to 23, a total of 30 participants from the Spanish business chamber and investment companies, mostly from the shipbuilding, agro-industrial, pharmaceutical, information technology - business process management, renewable energy, transport, steel and construction, water development and tourism sectors attended the Philippine Investment Forum.


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