The Philippines is eyeing significant investments from Europe, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during a virtual investment roadshow recently, dubbed as “Make It Happen In the Philippines: A Forum on the Philippines’ Role in your Business,” targeting European companies.

“It is still a good time to do business in the country despite the pandemic,” Lopez stressed.

“The Philippines considers Europe an important trading partner.”

“The Philippines considers Europe an important trading partner. We enjoy a very special trade relationship with them as we have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and we are the only country in ASEAN to benefit from the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+),” the trade chief added.

European companies have invested EUR 406.5M ($488M or P23.4B) in the country in 2020. Among the top European investors were the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and France.

Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Europe totaled $13.8B last year, serving as the Philippines’ 5th largest trading partner with exports amounting to $7.3B and imports at $6.5B.

“There is still much room for growth.”

“There is still much room for growth considering the level of consumer demand from respective markets and the supply chains that can be developed from complementary industries,” the trade head said.

“Beyond these figures, the nature and quality of investments from European companies and business partnerships formed with our companies have helped move the Philippines up the value chain. In particular, we’ve advanced about innovation-based manufacturing and high-value technology-based services,” he added citing the Lufthansa Technik Philippines (a joint venture between MacroAsia Philippines and Lufthansa AG) as the country’s preeminent provider of maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services with its main hub in Manila and eight other hangars with a tenth under construction.

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