Partnership and cooperation deal signed with Manila
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Friday 13 July 2012
The EU and the Philippines signed a partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA), on 11 July, aimed at enhancing strategic bilateral relations. The deal, which was signed by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the EU side and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on the Philippines side, is the first ever bilateral agreement signed by the two parties. Bilateral relations have to date been based on a 1980 EC-ASEAN cooperation agreement.
The PCA “will give a new impetus to an old friendship,” Ashton noted. “This agreement allows us to address the challenges in a coherent and methodical way – through both dialogue and real cooperation,” she added.
The agreement was signed after years of preparation and seven rounds of intense negotiations between Brussels and Manila. It sets out the framework for cooperation on political, social and economic matters, on combating terrorism and transnational crime, on human rights and migration “in order to facilitate trade and investment flows and to remove obstacles to trade and investment,” the agreement reads.
The deal – which will formally enter into force once the European Parliament and the 27 member states ratify it – is expected to be the first step in the direction of an EU-Philippines free trade agreement. “We are looking forward to the possibility of deepening our trade relations through a free trade agreement,” Ashton confirmed.
Two-way trade between the EU and the ASEAN state amounted to €9.1 billion in 2011, back to its pre-crisis (2008) level.