Officials from the Philippines recently expressed interest in pursuing a free trade agreement with the European Union, hoping to launch formal FTA negotiations early next year.

Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region, explains how the Philippines has developed into the largest destination in Southeast Asia for U.S. pork and beef exports. But the market is extremely competitive and price-sensitive, and the Philippines maintains relatively high duties on imported meat – especially pork, on which the duty rate is about 30 percent within import quotas, and as high as 40 percent out-of-quota. Because of these high duties, a free trade agreement could provide European pork suppliers with a significant price advantage in the Philippines. 

European pork exports to the Philippines surged in 2014 after EU pork lost access to the Russian market, with volume nearly doubling from the previous year to 163,287 metric tons (mt). In 2015, EU exports to the Philippines are down about 10 percent from a year ago but still 67 percent above their 2013 pace.