The UAE is the Philippines’ biggest export partner in the Middle East. In 2021, the total trade between the Philippines and the UAE grew by 34.7 per cent to reach Dh3.5 billion from Dh2.6 billion in 2020

Special envoy of the President and Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje; Senator Aquilino Pimentel III; Agriculture Secretary William Dar; Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III; Communications Secretary Martin Andanar; Public Works and Highways Acting Secretary Roger Mercado; Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana; Philippines Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez; UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi; Minister of State Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh; Mohammed Al Qattam, UAE Ambassador to the Philippines; and Nooh Alhammadi, director for East Asia and the Pacific, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. — Supplied photo

Published: Tue 15 Feb 2022, 7:06 PM

The UAE and the Philippines are set to bolster economic ties with the successful conclusion of negotiations for the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and the start of discussions on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

In a joint announcement, both sides said they have agreed to launch negotiations for a CEPA that will strengthen trade, enhance investment flows, remove barriers to trade, and create new business opportunities.

The joint announcement, which was made on the sidelines of the Philippines’ National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai last week by the UAE Minister of State Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, underscored the significance of the start of negotiations for the CEPA and the imminent signing of the IPPA.

To further maximise the opportunities for complementation in shared areas of interests and priorities, the UAE and the Philippines are also in the process of finalising a memorandum of understanding on economic and technical cooperation, which, together with the IPPA, will provide the solid foundation for pursuing the CEPA.

“These initiatives are expected to boost trade and investments between the two countries, leading to more diversified economic activities, development of new industries, employment generation and higher consumer spending as we partner for shared prosperity. The Philippines may serve as UAE’s strategic hub for the Southeast Asian region, as economic activities continue to shift to Asia. Active engagement between government and business sectors is key in ensuring that both countries will maximize benefits of the Agreements, including diversifying and expanding economic interests,” Lopez said.

The UAE is the Philippines’ biggest export partner in the Middle East. In 2021, the total trade between the Philippines and the UAE grew by 34.7 per cent to reach Dh3.5 billion from Dh2.6 billion in 2020. In terms of investments, the UAE ranked as the 17th top source of approved investments in 2019, valued at Dh48 million.

During the Philippines Country Business Briefing held alongside the Philippines National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, the Philippines welcomed Letters of Intent from GCC companies. These LOIs are expected to bring in Dh2.2 billion worth of investments and generate 4,000 job opportunities in the country’s healthcare, energy, tourism and hospitality, and dairy industries.

Lopez highlighted that this is an opportune time for UAE investors as the Philippines develops the necessary investment landscape through significant economic and regulatory reforms such as the liberalisation of the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Law, Foreign Investments Act, the CREATE Act and the aggressive Build Build Build programs of the Duterte administration.

Lopez said these reforms are supported by the Philippines’ efforts to improve ease of doing business by streamlining government processes, reducing processing time, and cutting bureaucratic red tape. The opportunities for FDI into several activities are broader and coupled with the IPPA, these investments will reap the benefits of all these reforms and agreements.


published 2022-02-15 22:06:03