In photo from left: UAE Ministry of Economy Senior Advisor Kayaan K. Unwalla and PH Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty
The Philippines recognizes UAE as a valuable trade partner, given that UAE ranked 23rd among the Philippines’ overall trading partners in 2020 and is its 21st largest export market and 26th largest import supplier. UAE is the Philippines’ largest export market in the GCC, with exports to UAE comprising 58.26% of total Philippine exports to the region. In terms of investments, UAE ranked 17th among the Philippines’ investment partners in 2019, with around 87% of investments going into manufacturing.
A potential Free Trade Agree with UAE may serve to provide for greater market access for goods and services, enhance investment flows, and ensure more opportunities for economic and technical cooperation. Philippine interests based on initial assessment include fresh and processed fruit, seafood, food products, beverages, electronics, appliances, machinery, personal care goods, iron and steel, wood, cement, chemicals, automotive and automotive parts, ships and aircraft, textile and garments, footwear, and leather. The proposed comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the UAE is envisioned to cover the usual elements of an FTA and other areas of emerging interests.