22 Dec 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 22 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
EU and the Philippines launch negotiations for a free trade agreement
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo today agreed to start negotiations for an EU-Philippines free trade agreement (FTA). Both sides share the ambition to conclude an agreement that covers a broad range of issues, including elimination of customs duties and other barriers to trade, services and investment, access to public procurement markets, as well as additional disciplines in the area of competition and protection of intellectual property rights. The prospective agreement will also include a comprehensive chapter that will ensure that closer economic relations between the EU and the Philippines go hand in hand with environmental protection and social development. “Launching negotiations with the Philippines will represent an important milestone in the EU-Philippine relations and a further evidence of the EU’s commitment to Southeast Asia”, said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. “The Philippines has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region in the recent years. We need to make sure our companies enjoy right conditions to seize the great potential of that market of 100 million consumers.” The first round of negotiations is expected to take place in the first half of 2016 in the Philippines. The joint press release is available online in all languages.
No outcome reached at the final trilateral ministerial meeting on the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade
European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev could not come to a political agreement during the talks yesterday in Brussels on the practical solutions to Russia’s concerns related to the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine. Commissioner Malmström said: “We spent 18 months in extensive discussions on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) rules and customs cooperation to accommodate Russia’s concerns. We were ready to make the efforts needed to reach a joint understanding. Therefore, I was deeply surprised by President Putin’s decree of 16 December 2015 that suspends all Russia’s obligations towards Ukraine in the framework of the CIS FTA. This measure goes against the mandate, the spirit and the objective of these talks.” Russia’s continued insistence on a legally binding agreement, which would amount to a reopening of the bilateral agreement between the EU and Ukraine, could not be accommodated, as has been made clear throughout these talks. The Commissioner added that: “As has been conveyed from the beginning of the talks and reconfirmed by President Juncker last week the DCFTA cannot be amended – neither directly nor indirectly.” Commissioner Malmström held a press point and answered a few questions yesterday which are available on ebs. A full press release and memo containing more background information on the trilateral talks on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) are available online.
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