India and Philippines working on preferential trade agreement


New Delhi: India and Philippines have agreed to work on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which will reduce and eliminate tariffs on many products both sides will be negotiating on.

This was in fact, one of the key outcomes of the 13th Meeting of the India Philippines Joint Working Group on Trade and Investments (JWGTI) and sectors like–pharmaceuticals, IT, and Financial Technology could be the focus areas of the PTA.

Undersecretary at the Philippines trade office, Ceferino S Rodolfo at the meet said “a more focused approach like a PTA is more practical. The Philippines is eager to conclude one with India not only to improve current trade levels in terms of value and volume but also in the breadth of products to be covered as current trade is highly concentrated on a few products”.

Joint Secretary Anant Swarup in India’s commerce ministry, concurring with him said, “India recognizes the benefits of negotiating a PTA with the Philippines” and called for both countries to “consult authorities and secure the mandate for the PTA negotiations.”

To further the PTA negotiations, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Indian Embassy in Manila, and Philippines Embassy in New Delhi organized a webinar on India-Philippines Enhancing Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship on 25 September.  

In 2018-19, India-Philippines trade was around $ 2.32 billion, with exports from India to the Philippines being at $ 1743 million and imports from the Philippines by India- US $ 581 million. In 2017-18 bilateral trade grew by nearly 25 per cent to US$ 2.45 billion.

Recent years have seen an intensification of relationship, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Philippines in 2017 for the 31st ASEAN and EAS Summits, followed by the visit of President Duterte to India in 2018 for India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and Republic Day celebrations.

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