MANILA - An official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Thursday the Philippines and South Korea are now finalizing the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and aim to conclude the trade deal next month.
"We are now also in the final stages towards concluding the FTA with Korea. Hopefully, this can be done in time for the Asean-Korea Summit which will happen towards the end of October," Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said during the virtual 2021 European-Philippine Business Summit.
Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency earlier reported that South Korea was expanding FTAs with emerging countries in Southeast Asia like the Philippines, Cambodia, and Indonesia, as well as Latin American nations to reduce its reliance on major economies in terms of trade.
Manila and Seoul agreed to pursue FTA in 2019 to improve market access for goods and services.
The two countries have trade pacts through regional deals, such as the Asean-Korea FTA and the newly concluded Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Rodolfo said the Philippines-Korea FTA has implications for European businesses, particularly in trade of high-end automotive vehicles.
The FTA will make high-end cars produced in South Korea more competitive than those coming from Europe.
Rodolfo added the DTI hopes that the European Union (EU) "will also take the cue from EFTA (European Free Trade Association)" that pursued and concluded a free trade deal with the Philippines.
"We hope to see another FTA with Europe," he said.
Rodolfo said the Philippines has kicked off two out of the three pillars of the country's strategy on strengthening economic partnership with Europe.
These include enjoying benefits from the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus, and the FTA with EFTA, he added. (PNA)