January 29, 2023

Local exporters are eyeing to increase their exports to Canada, especially as the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries launched the negotiations for a deal with Canada that is expected to boost trade relations and recover from the pandemic.
“This is an opportune time indeed to negotiate a trade deal with Canada which is looking for new markets and supply of intermediate goods,” Philippine Ambassador to Canada Rodolfo Robles said in a recent business forum.
Robles said the envisioned free trade agreement (FTA) between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Canada is expected to be modern and comprehensive and will take into account emerging trade realities; the potentials of ecommerce; the role of micro, small, and medium enterprises; and the deepening value chains.
He said the ASEAN-Canada FTA is seen to increase Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) by almost $2 billion annually, exports expand by about $37.9 million, and services to Canada by $57.5M.
“Aside from the GDP and trade, the investment side of the equation will likewise gain – it will complement the country’s Build, Build, Build program as well as the government’s 10-point socio-economic agenda. It will improve competitiveness and ease of doing business, promote rural and value chain development and will accelerate investment in infrastructure while promoting science and technology.”
But Robles said in any trade agreements, some industries will gain while others lose.
“The real challenge is to identify the sectors and provide them with assistance until they are able to find new business models that will work to their advantage. Trade creates wealth and expand(s) economies through specialization,” he added.
Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur said the Philippines is Canada’s fifth largest non-FTA trading partner.
In 2019, the Philippines exports to Canada reached $1.2B, while its imports from Canada was $548M, he said.
MacArthur said Philippine’s main exports to Canada include auto parts, information and communications technology, appliances, and agricultural products such as coconut.
“Your country has a trade surplus and enjoyed a trade surplus most years with my country that includes services trade,” MacArthur said, noting that Canada is the Philippines’ seventh largest source of foreign tourists and remittances from overseas Filipino workers in Canada.
MacArthur said the ASEAN-Canada FTA will increase Philippine manufactured exports and services exports to Canada.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Julian Payne said demand by Canada for imports is growing, including for the type of products that the Philippines exports, such as agri-food and electronics.
“As the two countries recover from downturns due to the pandemic, there will be opportunities for increased Philippines exports to Canada. When a free trade agreement is entered into, Canada exports will become more competitive with those from other countries already in the free trade agreement that covers Canada, such as the Comprehensive Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” he said.
The CPTPP is a comprehensive network of bilateral and regional trade agreements among its member economies: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. – Press release

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