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The EU officially launched negotiations with the Philippines on 22 December 2015, with the aim of concluding an agreement similar in coverage to those the EU achieved in its trade agreements with Singapore in 2014 and Vietnam in 2015.
All three countries are members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The objective is for bilateral trade agreements with individual ASEAN countries to serve as building blocks towards a future region-to-region agreement between the EU and ASEAN.
The second round of negotiations between the EU and the Philippines took place in February 2017. Negotiations have since been on hold. In July 2023, the EU and the Philippines announced their intention to begin technical discussions with a view to potentially resuming negotiations over a free trade agreement (FTA).
As with its previous trade negotiations with other ASEAN countries, before launching talks the EU carried out a joint scoping exercise with the Philippines to determine the scope and the level of ambition of a future trade agreement. The exercise was successfully concluded in October 2015 and in November 2015 EU governments authorised the Commission to start negotiations.
On the EU side, negotiations are led by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, with the support of experts from other parts of the Commission.