PH, UK working on gov’t-to-gov’t trade facilitation agreement
MANILA -The United Kingdom and the Philippines are crafting an agreement aimed at enhancing the facilitation of government-to-government transactions, with the end goal of simplifying the process.
UK Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Nicole Stephanie Beaufils said this during the Philippine-British Meat Trade Mission event in Makati that was organized by the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP).
“We’re in the process of working with the government to develop a (memorandum of understanding) to facilitate (government-to-government agreements) on trade,” Beaufils told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
“It’s about how do we simplify our (government-to-government) arrangements for big procurement,” she said further, adding that they have not set a timetable for the completion of the draft agreement.
The British official said that both governments are moving toward more developments amid the improving trade relations between the two countries
“UK-Philippine trade is in a really great place. Our bilateral trade is higher than it has ever been at £2.9 billion (about $3.6 billion) a year,” said the British diplomat.
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Philippines stood at £2.9 billion in the four quarters ending in the second quarter of 2023, which marks a 32-percent increase compared to previous four quarters preceding that period.
Meanwhile, BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson said they expect meat export from the European country to rebound in 2024 coming from a projected decline in 2023.
“It won’t happen probably in the initial part of the year but further on,” Nelson told reporters during the same event when asked about their outlook for 2024.
“I’m optimistic (that in) 2024, we’ll see a strong rebound but probably more toward the latter half of the year because, obviously, they got to gear up for that,” he added.
The BCCP official said that British pork products still show the most promise, followed by beef.
According to Nelson, the Philippines is the UK’s second largest foreign market for meat products, next only to China.
Data from the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board shows that the value of pork and beef exported by the European country to the Philippines reached £421.01 million from January to September, marking a 62.3-percent decline compared to the same period last year.