Philippine Trade Minister hopes for EU Free Trade Agreement Before 2028

Philippines Trade Data


Philippine Trade Minister hopes for EU Free Trade Agreement Before 2028

The Philippines is attempting to secure trade relations with the EU through a free trade agreement with the bloc, according to its secretary of trade and industry, who spoke with EURACTIV and Borderless. If the Philippines were to reach upper-middle-income status, it would lose preferential treatment in EU trade policy. Let’s explore the notification in detail:

Philippine Trade Minister Sets 2028 Deadline for EU Free Trade Agreement

The FTA discussions between the EU and the Philippines were suspended in 2017, but Alfredo Pascual predicted that they would resume the discussion within the year. 

This week, Pascual went on a roadshow in Europe to promote his nation as a trading partner, with a stopover in Brussels to speak with Valdis Dombrovskis, the Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner of the Commission.

The generalized scheme of preference plus (GSP+), which the EU uses to give some developing nations preferred market access and from which the Philippines currently benefits, is foremost in his mind.

However, there are two threats to this preferred access.

  1. The EU's internal pressure puts preferential trade at risk.

On the one hand, the EU's GSP regulation is slated to expire at the end of 2023, and the Commission's legislative plan to extend it for the years 2024 to 2033 has not yet been adopted due to disagreements between the European Parliament and the member states on whether or not access to the GSP should be linked to immigration.

While the member states represented in the EU Council seek to tie access to the GSP to the readmission of their own citizens who migrated to the EU illegally, Parliament negotiators prefer to keep the two issues apart.

It's uncertain whether a cliff-edge scenario can be avoided in 2024 while talks between the Council and Parliament are stalled. According to a Commission spokeswoman, the commission has begun working to extend the present GSP rules and prevent the cliff-edge situation in parallel with the delayed discussions; however, this extension would also need to be approved by the Council and the Parliament.

Pascual hopes for a resolution soon. "We're here to get the European Union to give us a good indication of how they are formulating the new rules for the GSP+," he stated. Get Philippines Import and export data.

  1. Due to Philippine Growth and Development

Even if the EU is successful in extending GSP into the upcoming years, the Philippines probably won't be able to make use of it for very long. Only nations that fall below the upper-middle-income criterion are granted GSP access by the EU.

The Philippines is on the verge of surpassing the GDP level required to be classified as an upper-middle-income country under the World Bank's definition due to the country's recent robust economic growth.

However, Pascual predicts that the threshold will most likely be met in 2025. The Philippines would need to remain over the threshold for three years before being classified as an upper-middle-income nation, which would suggest that GSP+ access might be lost by 2028. The Philippine trade minister hopes to clinch a free trade agreement with the EU by that point at the latest in order to prevent tariffs from going back into effect. 

Also Read: What are the Benefits of Trading in the Philippines?

Reviving FTA negotiations after Duterte

"We'd like to be able to transition to an FTA between the Philippines and the EU without a gap in order to not disrupt domestic industries in the Philippines," Pascual told EURACTIV, expecting negotiations to begin before the end of 2023.

Dombrovskis and Pascual "discussed how to reactivate the EU-Philippines trade agenda, both bilaterally and multilaterally," an EU Commission official told EURACTIV.

A trade agreement between the Philippines and the EU had already been discussed over the previous ten years, but negotiations came to an end in 2017 as a result of concerns from the EU regarding the country's human rights situation under Rodrigo Duterte's presidency, which lasted until the summer of 2022.


In conclusion, the Philippine Trade Minister's optimistic outlook on achieving a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) before 2028 holds significant potential for both parties. Such an agreement would undoubtedly foster stronger economic ties and open up new opportunities for trade and investment between the Philippines and the EU member states. With dedication and a shared commitment to free and fair trade, the Philippines and the EU can work towards realizing a comprehensive and progressive FTA that fuels economic growth, enhances competitiveness, and brings prosperity to both regions. However, if you need any kind of assistance regarding the Philippines Trade Data, Philippines Import Data, or Philippines Export Data, connect with to explore the global market insights without any hindrance.

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