Exports of clothing from the Philippines to the EU rose 12.5% year-on-year in 2014

Exports of clothing from the Philippines to the EU rose 12.5% year-on-year in 2014

The European Union (EU) and the Philippines are to start talks on a free-trade agreement, in an attempt to boost trade and investment.

Plans to negotiate a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member, were first given the go-ahead in April 2007. But in December 2009, following the suspension of region-to-region talks, it was decided to pursue negotiations with individual ASEAN countries on a case-by-case basis.

The EU is also currently negotiating with two ASEAN countries – Malaysia and Thailand – whilst talks with two others – Singapore and Vietnam – have concluded.

Exports of clothing from the Philippines to the EU were worth EUR165.52m in 2014, a rise of 12.5% on the prior year's EUR147.12m. Of this, EUR92.4m were knitted garments and EUR73.1m were woven.

Since the beginning of this year, the country has benefited from inclusion within the EU's GSP+ scheme, allowing the export of 6,274 additional products – including garments – to the EU at zero tariffs over the next 10 years.

The EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) scheme allows developing country exporters to pay fewer or no duties on their exports to the EU. GSP+ offers additional trade incentives to implement core international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.