EU should consider PH 'economic breakout,' trade chief says


Posted at May 19 2017 11:35 AM

MANILA – The European Union should continue engaging the Philippines, where a robust economy provides opportunities for business, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte is refusing aid from the EU that are preconditioned on the observance of human rights, a move which could endanger trade ties, according to analysts.

“At the end of the day, we believe the EU should continue to engage the Philippines,” Lopez told ANC.

“With all this economic growth and demographic dividends the Philippines is enjoying, the economic breakout, there are opportunities here,” he added.

The economy grew 6.4 percent in the January to March period, the second-fastest in Asia, even as the expansion slowed from the previous quarter due to a lack of election spending.

On Thursday, Lopez said he hoped Duterte’s refusal would not affect trade arrangements with the EU under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences program.