The Philippines and South Korea have kickstarted negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) aiming to conclude the negotiations during the South Korea – ASEAN Summit in November 2019. This will be the Philippines’ only second bilateral trade agreement following the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) which was signed eleven years ago.
Both countries hope to enhance trade and investment flow through the reduction or elimination of tariff rates and a wider market access for products and services. The Philippines called for reduction, if not elimination, of tariff rates for agricultural exports such as banana, pineapple and mangoes from 30% to 0-5%.
In addition to products and services, the FTA will also see easier travel access between the two countries leading to improved people to people exchanges, as well as investments that could lead to job generation, transfer of technology, and R&D collaboration.
In general, the FTA is expected to create better opportunities for SMEs, exporters, investors, labor force, and the industries.
(Source: Business Mirror, Business Korea, Philippine News Agency)