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Ambassadors Franz Jessen (European Union), Jozsef Bencze (Hungary), Saskia de Lang (Netherlands), Harald Fries (Sweden), Charges de Affaires, a.i. Mihai Sion (Romania) and Special Envoy to the EU Mr Avelino Cruz will attend this year's Davao Investment Conference from 20 to 21 June 2019 to explore possible trade and business opportunities in Southern Philippines. Diplomats from the Embassies of Belgium and France will also attend the conference.
"Our visit is a reaffirmation of our commitment and willingness to identify possible investment ventures or trade partnerships between the EU and the Southern Philippines", said EU Ambassador Jessen.
He said that the EU supports the government's focus on rural and regional economic development especially in regions such as in Mindanao.
While in Davao, the European ambassadors and diplomats are expected to pay a courtesy meeting on Davao Mayor Sara Duterte and to discuss with business executives from Southern Mindanao Business Council led by Chairperson Tony Peralta.
There are very promising prospects between EU and the Philippines' business and trade relations which can be looked at, added Ambassador Jessen.
"The EU continues to see the Philippines as a large, fast growing market although there is further room for the latter to intensify and to mobilise EU traders and investors in line with the size and potentiality of the Philippine market", he said.
He hopes that in the immediate future, more European businesses will invest in the Philippines to help create more quality jobs for the Filipinos. At the same time, Ambassador Jessen will also urge Filipino business executives and entrepreneurs to maximise the trade benefits thanks to the EU GSP+ preferential scheme for Filipino exports to the EU.
In terms of Philippine exports, Mindanao products - particularly its agricultural sector - have been benefiting from the GSP+ over the last five years since 2014.
For 2018 alone, almost €2 billion worth of Philippine products, mostly agri-food items, were exported to the EU at zero tariff.