‘Back on track’: Philippines, Chile revive talks on free trade pact

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2019 04:44 PM | Updated as of May 31 2019 10:53 AM

An insignia placed at the residence of the Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines. ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Chile and the Philippines may finally sign a free trade agreement next year, a move expected to boost economic relations between the 2 countries, Chilean ambassador said Thursday.

"Issues” have caused delays in the signing of an FTA in 2015, but talks aiming to form free trade flows between the 2 countries are now “back on track," Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines Jose Miguel Capdevila said in an exclusive interview with ANC’s The Boss. 

“We’re back on track, where we left off regarding the free trade agreement. That was last year, there was a very important meeting in Papua New Guinea between Sec. Ramon Lopez with Chilean counterparts and we decided to restart the dialogue about the free trade agreement,” Capdevila said. 

Chile and the Philippines have decided to set up a new joint mechanism responsible for creating a framework to discuss trade investments here, he said. 

Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines Jose Miguel Capdevila speaks to Cathy Yang for ANC's The Boss. ABS-CBN News

Chile will host this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November, but 5 months might not be enough to finish FTA discussions for it to be signed during the summit, Capdevila said. 

“We have terms of reference we agree on, but there are something that deals with the scope that we need to adjust further with the Philippines,” Capdevila said.

“It seems to me that we won’t have sufficient time to wrap it up easier. So that leads me to think that next year should be the year,” he added. 

Once signed, an FTA will be a win-win for the “100 percent complementary” economies since there is no competition between products produced in the 2 countries, Capdevila said. Chile and Thailand’s trade balance, for example, “skyrocketed” after an FTA was signed, he said. 

Capdevila said the FTA with the Philippines would be an evolving bilateral agreement, focused on goods and services.

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