European businessmen warned the Philippines could be left out or left behind if it doesn't sign a free trade agreement with Europe soon.
European Chamber Official Henry Schumacher said Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam could have free trade agreements with Europe by 2015. That would make them more competitive in Europe versus a country such as the Philippines whose products will still be subject to import duties or at least higher import duties.
The European Chamber said negotiations have been slow and local businessmen should press government to be more decisive.
The US is also lobbying for the Philippines to join a so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the Philippines has to remove its foreign investment restrictions to do so.
2015 is also the year an ASEAN Free Trade Zone will be born. -- ANC