EU Boosts Trade Assistance to Philippines to over P1 Billion

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The European Union has extended P453 million to the Philippines for the third phase of the EU-supported Trade Related Technical Assistance Project (TRTA) 3 bringing EU's total trade support to over P1 billion over a period of 12 years to improve the country's competitiveness to promote trade and investments and eventually help achieve the government's goal of inclusive growth and reduced poverty incidence.

The TRTA started in 2005 and this third phase will commence next month.

The third TRTA phase will implement some of the key policies and technical priorities identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2012-2016.

For instance, it will support policy and regulatory reforms to strengthen the industry and promote genuine competition. It will also contribute to the consolidation and establishment of new systems to reduce costs and delays of engaging in trade.

TRTA 3 will likewise strengthen food safety measures and control systems for local products to gain access to international markets.

In addition, it will also provide on-demand services to public sector and business associations to address their urgent needs.

"This third phase of the TRTA which brings the total of our contribution in support of trade to E18 million or around P1 billion over a period of 12 years will not only build on past accomplishments but also embrace a wide trade and investment agenda and new components," said EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux at the yesterday's TRTA 3 launch.

According to Ledoux, the EU has put prime importance on three areas: competition law and related policies; Custom Modernization Law; and value added processing of agricultural products.

"No strong and sustainable growth can be attained without proper competition which reduces the prices and increases the quality of goods and services, boosts the export capacity, and ensures a level playing field that attracts foreign investors," Ledoux explained.

He said the TRTA will help address the issues highlighted in the Global Competitiveness Report on the extent of market dominance -which ranks the Philippines in the 98th position in 144 countries) and effectiveness of anti-monopoly policy (with a Philippines rank of 84 in 144 countries).

The project will notably support the development of cooperation mechanisms between the public sector and regulators for the telecommunication, the energy and the maritime transport sectors to ensure this fair competition and penalize restrictions to competition, he said. …