Aerospace exports is one of the Philippine sectors that is expected to get a boost from the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), a free trade deal between Manila and Abu Dhabi, a senior trade official said Monday.
In a press briefing, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Allan Gepty said the CEPA will benefit high-value export products of the country to the UAE, especially parts of helicopters and aircrafts, which had the highest annual export growth in 2022.
“Maybe one important consideration is the fact [that] our exports to UAE, many are high-value products like parts of helicopters or aircrafts. Noting that UAE basically owned one of the largest airlines in the world, we hope we can also improve our niche in the aerospace industry,” Gepty said.
According to the DTI, exports of other parts of airplanes or helicopters to the UAE recorded the highest increase in 2022 at 122.97 percent.
Gepty added that aside from aerospace exports, the possible free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE will also boost Philippine exports of agricultural and industrial products to the Middle East as well as Europe, the UAE being the hub for Philippine products in these regions.
On Dec. 2, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi signed the terms of reference (TOR), or the scope of negotiations, for the CEPA in Dubai on the sidelines of the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Gepty, who is also the country’s lead negotiator for FTAs, underscored that the CEPA will be a milestone for the Philippines as this will be the country’s first FTA with a Middle East country.
He added that with the signing of the TOR, formal negotiations will commence in the first quarter of the year and hope to conclude the FTA talks within one to two years.
Pascual, for his part, said he gave a “marching order to get it done quickly” for the country to benefit from the FTA with the UAE.
During his visit to Manila last Nov. 23 to 24, Al Zeyoudi told the Philippine News Agency that the UAE usually negotiates FTAs in a span of six months.
“We’re going to put pressure so we’re going to conclude in six months,” he said in a chance interview.
He added the UAE targets to increase bilateral trade and investments with the Philippines through the CEPA by five times. (PNA)