Italy seeks stronger agri ties with Philippines, envoy says

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2019 12:11 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2019 10:26 AM

MANILA – Italy and the Philippines can benefit from each other’s strengths especially in the exchange of “complementary” products and in the upgrade of technologies here, an envoy said Thursday.

Italy produces goods that are not made in the Philippines as well technologies in food machinery and storage which can help transform the agriculture sector, Italy’s Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio di Stefano said in an exclusive interview with ANC’s The Boss.

“What you need is what we produce and vice-versa so we can find a way to strengthen it and that’s why we’re going to finalize some good agreements… But also, this is more important I think, the part of the economy that’s giving you the possibility to transform your production in the most innovative way,” Di Stefano said.

“You are still producing goods in, let’s say, not innovative way and we can really give you the possibility to reinforce that production in new rich levels to be able to also export it…. That’s what I was talking about the complementary deal of economies,” he added.


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Italy is looking to finalize deals in agriculture, defense, civil cooperation, protection and climate change, among others, the first time visitor to Manila said. Currently there are 165,000 Filipinos living in Italy, Di Stefano said.

The friendship between Italy and the Philippines creates a “natural bridge” for good cooperation and despite geographical distance, the 2 countries can work on a win-win solution, he said.

There is “no big obstacle” in the proposed EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Di Stefano said, adding that it could boost the country’s economy.

“According to numbers, we will have mutual benefit from that agreement between the EU and the Philippines…If we have an agreement, if you break this wall on the trade, then you can easily exchange goods… it will give a boost in the economy,” Di Stefano said.

The Philippines enjoys zero tariffs for the trade of select goods to the EU under the GSP+ agreement granted by the bloc.

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