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Sweden supports the EU-PH free trade agreement.

Johan Forssell, Sweden’s minister of foreign trade, has emphasized the necessity of resuming negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) to allow for a more open exchange of commodities between the two sides.

More than 6,000 products entered the EU market with zero tariffs, so the Philippines benefited from the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

But from our vantage point, we have vigorously supported free, open, and rules-based trade for many years. As a result, Forssell told reporters during his two-day visit here on May 18 and 19: “I think we should also relaunch the FTA negotiations between the Philippines and European Union when the time is right.

Regarding fostering commercial ties, Forssell stated that an EU-Philippines FTA “must be the ultimate goal” of the two sides.

Ten years have passed since the Philippines, and the EU began preliminary discussions on a bilateral FTA.

Two rounds of negotiations were held in Brussels in 2016 and Cebu in 2017, but there hasn’t been any progress on them in the past six years.

According to Forssell, the Philippines is a desirable location for Swedish investors because of the country’s demographic changes, infrastructure program, and switch to sustainable energy.

He said he needed to visit since the Philippines is one of our most important markets.

In addition to inviting Filipino businesses to investigate investment and trade opportunities in Sweden, Forssell stated that he plans to send a Swedish business delegation to Manila.

He noted that 40 Swedish companies, including well-known names like H&M and IKEA, work in the Philippines.

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