The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) bared plans to hire a trade attaché for posting in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, to “beef up” its presence in the European Union (EU).
The trade agency also eyes attaches in European countries Berlin in Germany, Brussels in Belgium, Paris in France and London in the United Kingdom.
This was after the DTI met with the EU parliament, represented by a delegation eyeing greater relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the ASEAN (DASE) on 17 December.
The delegation was led by DASE chair Werner Langen from Germany.
Trade secretary Ramon Lopez during the meeting also cited strenghtened trade relations between the country and the EU due to EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) program.
The GSP+ enables exports from the country to enter the EU market duty-free.
This also lead to the EU being the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner in 2017.
According to DTI, it is also the country’s second largest export market at 7.2 billion euros, wherein 25 percent of Pinoy exports to EU were via GSP+.
The EU trade scheme benefits Filipino farmers and fishermen since the main export products to the EU include processed meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, the trade chief said.
“A number of companies have established their manufacturing operations in the PH in order to take advantage of GSP+ benefits, thereby contributing to employment generation and the developmental goals of the country,” he added.
In a previous statement, DTI said that Hungary is one of the sources of foreign investments in the country. In 2016 particularly, it only ranked as the Philippines’ 40th largest trading partner, 26th export market and 64th import supplier.