Migrant Forum in Asia
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RP-EU Pact Contains Migration Provisions

MANILA, Philippines—The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the European Union will contain provisions on migration and corruption.

At the end of the first round of negotiations that ended Tuesday, the two parties agreed that migration and corruption are among the many areas of mutual interest they can cooperate on. Renewable energy, investment promotion, and intellectual property are the others.

James Moran, director for Asia of the European Commission’s External Relations Department, said the promotion of legal migration and the stamping out of illegal migration will form part of the agreement that both parties expect to forge and sign soon.

At the press conference after the talks, Moran expressed hope that the pact would be signed within a year, while Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Edsel Custodio was less definite about when he believed it would be finalized.

Custodio does not expect “smooth sailing” in the political pillars of the treaty. The items under the “economic and social pillars we needed yesterday, he said.

Moran clarified that while negotiations are different and separate from the free trade agreement (FTA) also being negotiated between the two parties, the PCA will “encourage recovery” from the effects of the global economic crisis.

Custodio, who co-chairs the talks with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy, said the current economic situation necessitates the agreement.

The DFA official is very cautious about making commitments on common activities on human rights, saying EU “standards are higher than ours. We want to have flexibility and move at our pace.”

The PCA intends “to send signals to investors both in Europe and the Philippines” that the playing field is level, Moran said.

“This is an ambitious agreement. It brings the EU-Philippines relationship to a new level,” he added.

Unlike the FTA, which would bind various sectors to lower tariffs, the PCA is more about bringing people and other resources together, the Philippines’ Custodio said.

The second round will start in July.

After the negotiations, the agreement will be signed and ratified by both parties, which for the EU means each of the 27 member-countries.

By Veronica Uy


INQUIRER.net | 02/10/2009

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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