The Philippines is tapping other export markets, including Europe, amid the trade war between the United States and China and acceleration of global trade brought about by globalization.
“What we are doing now at the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) is, we are trying to find different markets for our products. We are not just concentrating on the US and China,” Marie Sherylyn Aquia, chief of Multilateral Relations Division at the DTI Bureau of International Trade Relations, said in an event organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
Apart from Europe, Aquia said the country is also strengthening its cooperation with ASEAN neighbors, noting “even (if) they are our competitors, they are also our partners.”
She said it also concluded negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that covers Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
“We are (also) trying to complete the negotiations on the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership),” she added.
Once concluded, the RCEP agreement will be the world’s largest free trade deal. It is a deal between Asean countries and the bloc’s six free trade agreement (FTA) partners –China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Dr. Roehlano Briones, Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), said exports of agricultural products present opportunities, as well as boost Filipino micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“This is also a big opportunity for micro, small and medium, especially small and medium enterprises, to break through in foreign markets… They might be able to make it big in some food products,” he said.