February 2, 2023

Realizing the potential of a strategic partnership in the region, the Philippines and India agreed to consider a preferential trade agreement (PTA) at the recently concluded 13th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investments on Sept. 17.    

A PTA is a bilateral agreement that aims to reduce and eliminate tariffs on products of mutual interests.

“A more focused approach like a PTA is more practical.  Philippines is eager to conclude one with India not only to improve current trade levels in terms of value and volume but also in the breadth of products to be covered as current trade is highly concentrated on a few products, “DTI Usec. Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

Joint Secretary Anant Swarup said “India recognizes the benefits of negotiating a PTA with the Philippines and called for both countries to consult authorities and secure the mandate for the PTA negotiations.  

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, Embassy of India in Manila, and the Embassy of the Philippines in New Delhi organized the “India-Philippines Enhancing Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship” webinar held on Sept. 25, recognizing opportunities for collaboration in the fields of pharmaceuticals, IT, and financial technology.    

DTI Asec. Allan B. Gepty said PTA is a concrete response to harness the potentials of the complementarities particularly in supporting linkages and addressing supply chain gaps through enhanced market access of inputs and raw materials in the identified areas of trade.  

The proposed PTA received unanimous support from Ambassador of the Philippines to India Ramon S. Bagatsing and Ambassador of India to the Philippines Shambhu S. Kumaran.

The ambassadors and the business chambers said acting proactively by setting timelines to immediately commence and conclude the negotiations is important.  

In 2019, Oxford Economics came up with the top 10 emerging markets that will dominate the global economy in the next decade. Notably, India ranked first and the Philippines ranked second. – Hanna C. Lacsamana

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