On November 16, the European Council authorized the launch of negotiations toward a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines.
The negotiations will be led by the Commission on behalf of the European Union (EU). The Council said it had encouraged the Commission to take an ambitious approach. EU member states have also authorized the Commission to start negotiations in areas that fall within their competence.
Negotiations toward an FTA were initially conducted with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member. However, following the suspension of region-to-region talks in December 2009, the Council decided to pursue negotiations with individual ASEAN countries on a case-by-case basis. The EU is currently negotiating with two ASEAN countries – Malaysia and Thailand – and has concluded talks with Singapore and Vietnam.
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