PH eyes FTA with Turkey

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    The Philippines is exploring a free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey as a preferred partner in Asia and a gateway to Europe.

    Ceferino Rodolfo, assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a forum on Reigniting Southeast Asia Cooperation between Turkey and the Philippines on Tuesday, said a preferential trading agreement will be pursued as a first step towards an FTA with Turkey.

    In the same forum, Gonca Yilmaz Batur, deputy minister of Turkey’s Ministry of Trade called on the need to double or even triple bilateral trade with the Philippines to its current level of $260 million by expanding the goods and services that can be exchanged.

    Turkey meanwhile sees the Philippines as an entry point to Asean and to Asia.

    Manila has been supportive of Istanbul’s bid to become a dialogue partner in Asean since 2017.

    Rodolfo invited Turkey to invest in the manufacture of medical products and other goods in the Philippines. Turkey can also export these products to the Philippines which is diversifying its sources of imports.

    Turkey’s exports to the Philippines reached $124 million in 2019, down 30 percent from 2018 due to a decline in shipments of flour while imports rose 12 percent to $137 million.

    A wide range of industrial and agriculture goods can be exported by the Philippines while Turkey can explore consultancy services in infrastructure , defense and information and communication technology to the country.