The Philippines is now wooing French businessmen to improve trading relations between the two countries moving forward, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced Sunday.
In an emailed statement, the DTI said Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a session with French businessmen, expressed hope that France could assist in the REBUILD PH Program.
"France can be our partner in rebuilding a post-pandemic world that is more inclusive and safer for everyone," he was quoted as saying.
Lopez made the address digitally on Wednesday, September 16, before executives of MEDEF International which supports trade, technologic cooperation, and investments, as well as long-term partnerships especially with emerging and developing markets and reconstruction markets.
MEDEF is a non-profit private-funded organization, which aims at promoting the French companies' know-how abroad through collective actions.
Lopez said the group could assist in the Philippines' REBUILD PH -- Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand -- which takes a demand-side strategy to revitalize the economy.
It takes into consideration the gross domestic product, consumption, investment, government expenditure, export, and import.
"These four key goals are intended to keep jobs so people will have income that will bring back demand, which will entice companies to produce more supply," said Lopez.
"We must therefore bring back business confidence and revive consumer confidence while balancing the importance of public health and running the economy," he added.
In the same meeting, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo identified electronics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) as sectors of cooperation.
Rodolfo also noted that the Philippines would like to continue pursuing cooperation with France in other sectors identified during the 8th Philippines-France Joint Economic Cooperation (JEC) meeting in Manila in June 2019.
The next JEC meeting is scheduled to be hosted by Paris, eyed to take place in the first half of 2021.
The latest development was announced Sunday, days after the European Parliament pushed for the revocation of the Philippines' export tariff exemptions under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).
In a resolution dated September 17, the European Union's legislative assembly cited the "seriousness of the human rights violations" in the Philippines in the proposed revocation.
The EU has long stressed the importance of human rights as one the requisites of the GSP+, also warning that the country could risk billions of dollars in trade deals should judicial concerns persist.
For his part, Lopez shrugged off the European Parliament's resolution, as he claimed the government was so far able to explain its side on the issues, and doesn't see any reason why the tax perks should be withdrawn. — DVM, GMA News