Groups fear EU’s aggressive trade agenda is driving the talks
EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Campaign Network-Philippines*
Secretariat Office, 19-Maginhawa St., Teachers’ Village, Diliman Quezon City. Tel (63)2-4331676
11 February 2009
Reacting to news reports about the launch of the formal negotiations for a comprehensive partnership and cooperation agreement between EU and the Philippines, the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network* urged both the EU and Philippine governments to disclose to the public the contents of the cooperation agreement.
“If indeed the PCA will be for the mutual benefit of both EU and the Philippines then why are the negotiations shrouded in secrecy” asked Alice Raymundo of Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS). “We have been trying to get a copy of the draft texts of the agreement through the EC office in Manila and our very own Department of Foreign Affairs but our requests have been ignored,” Ms. Raymundo added.
The PCA is supposed to address a broad range of issues that would define EU-RP partnership and cooperation including political issues and human rights. The PCA however has also been described as a pre-requisite for a free trade deal with the EU.
“EU’s aggressiveness in pushing the PCA must be viewed in the context of its Global Europe Strategy to maintain and strengthen EU’s competitive edge in the region” said Mr. Renato Magtubo of Partido Manggagawa(PM).
“The EU makes no qualms about its desire to open up markets for its corporations under its proposed FTA. It is this ambitious trade agenda and its potential impact on jobs and livelihoods that people are worried about” Magtubo added.
“Once the PCA is signed, the FTA negotiations will soon follow and we wonder whether the EU is using the mantle of partnership and cooperation to entice the Philippines to agree to a highly ambitious trade agreement. Is this EU’s carrot and stick approach?” Ms. Ampy Miciano of the Rural Women Congress asked.
“Unfortunately, the trade department has a poor track record when it comes to securing Philippine interests in these bilateral negotiations” added Ms. Miciano.
*The EU- ASEAN FTA Campaign Network is a civil society network monitoring trade talks between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS), Partido Manggagawa (PM), the Rural Women Congress are members of the Philippine network of the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network, comprising of around 50 organizations nationwide. National affiliates in other ASEAN countries include trade justice organizations in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.