EU states seek increased trade, business ties in Mindanao

MANILA A number of European Union (EU) envoys will visit Davao City to explore business opportunities in the southern Philippines, the EU Delegation in Manila said on Wednesday.

"Our visit is a reaffirmation of our commitment and willingness to identify possible investment ventures or trade partnerships between the EU and the Southern Philippines," said EU Ambassador Franz Jessen in a statement announcing their visit.

The envoy together with Hungarian Ambassador Jozsef Bencze, Dutch Ambassador Saskia de Lang, Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries, Romanian Charges de Affaires, a.i. Mihai Sion and Special Envoy to the EU Avelino Cruz will attend this year's Davao Investment Conference from June 20 to 21. Diplomats from the embassies of Belgium and France will also attend the said conference.

Jessen said the EU supports the government's focus on rural and regional economic development especially in regions such as in Mindanao.

He also highlighted the "very promising prospects" between the two partners in terms of business and trade relations.

"The EU continues to see the Philippines as a large, fast-growing market although there is further room for the latter to intensify and to mobilize EU traders and investors in line with the size and potentiality of the Philippine market," Jessen said.

Meanwhile, Jessen urged Filipino businessmen to take advantage of the trade benefits brought by the EU Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)+ preferential scheme for Filipino exports to EU member states.

In 2018 alone, the delegation bared that almost EU2 billion worth of Philippine products, mostly agri-food items, were exported to the EU at zero tariffs.

Under the GSP+ scheme, the Philippines is allowed tariff-free exports of over 6,000 local products to the EU since December 2014 under the condition that it would comply to 27 core international conventions that cover human and labor rights, environmental protection and good governance.

While in Davao, the European ambassadors and diplomats are expected to pay a courtesy meeting on Davao Mayor Sara Duterte and to discuss with business executives from Southern Mindanao Business Council led by chairperson Tony Peralta. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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