EU trade aid seen boosting PH exportsBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Expanded exports to the European Union and other major markets are among the many benefits the Philippines is expected to enjoy through the P453-million third phase of the Trade Related Technical Assistance Project (TRTA3).
The EU-funded TRTA is designed to help the Philippines trade more with the rest of the world and to attract more investments, officials said at the launching ceremony Friday.
EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said the TRTA3 expanded its support for the Philippines’ economic growth, job creation and promotion of competition.
The EU likewise wanted to encourage fiscal independence of the Bureau of Customs to shield it from “patronage” politics, and take the country further on a “sustainable growth path.”
With the agreement, trade between the Philippines and the EU could grow from the $10.6 billion posted in 2012.
There is also potential for more investments from the EU, which contributed 40 percent or $2.57 billion to the total approved investments last year, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said in a speech.
The latest contribution brings EU’s total trade-related assistance to the Philippines to P1.02 billion since 2005.
Such funding supports policy and regulatory reforms to strengthen industry competitiveness and promote “genuine” competition, officials said. The grant is seen to strengthen food safety measures and control systems for local products to gain access to international markets, and contribute to the consolidation and establishment of new systems to reduce costs and delays of engaging in trade. The project also helps provide on-demand services to the public sector and business associations.
The TRTA3 builds upon the successes of the first two phases, which boosted the Philippines’ ranking to 61st from 68th position in the “trading across border” index of the World Bank’s “Business Report.”
Domingo said the TRTA3 will help the Philippines gain further momentum on economic growth of 6.6 percent in 2012 and strengthen cooperation between the Philippines an the EU. The Philippines is aiming for an average of 7 to 8 percent growth from 2011 to 2016.
Formally launched on June 28, 2013 for implementation until 2016, TRTA3 was preceded by TRTA2 between 2008 and 2012 and TRTA1 from 2005 to 2008.