Economic Forum with Mr. Walter van Hattum, EU Delegation to the Philippines

19.05.16 AHK News

Mr. Walter van Hattum, Head of Economic and Trade Section of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, delivered an insightful presentation on “The EU and the Philippines towards a Free Trade Agreement” at the Economic Forum in May.


He began with a statistically supported overview of the commendable economic performance of the Philippines over the last 6 years as well as areas that need more improvement if the country is set to realize its true economic potential.

Mr. van Hattum remarked on the EU as a committed investor in Philippine industries; and likewise, the Philippines has been enthusiastic in motioning for better trade relations with Europe. EU’s successful Free Trade Agreements with South Korea and Singapore were highlighted to explain how an FTA would be a mutually-beneficial arrangement, taking EU-Philippine bilateral relations to greater heights.

He then pointed out that an FTA with the EU entails an exchange of values such as respect for human rights and democratic principles, not only an increase in revenues. Reforms implemented by the Philippines has given economic dialogue with the EU a more positive outlook.

The last part of the forum focused on the challenges of market uncertainties, which calls for pursuing further reforms by the upcoming government administration, such as modifying the constitution to create a better business environment. It was also emphasized that the business community, composed of both local and foreign entities, played a crucial role in the economy’s advancement and will continue to do so.