Trade and employment

Message of support at the ILO-EU STRENGTHEN (Trade and Employment) Project Technical Workshop on Assessing the Effects of Trade on Employment

By Ms Therese Yosuico, Trade Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, delivered on behalf of His Excellency Ambassador Franz Jessen at the ILO-EU STRENGTHEN (Trade and Employment) Project Technical Workshop on Assessing the Effects of Trade on Employment, Makati, Philippines, 29 March 2017

I am pleased to be here with you today to open this training for specialists, to help strengthen skills in assessing the effects of trade on employment.

As practitioners, you may have an appreciation of the level of EU-PH bilateral relations – so allow me to cite some statistics to underscore the importance of the bilateral relations:
  • The EU is by far the largest investor in the Philippines: in 2015 alone, 37% of all new reported investments (PSA) were from the EU, totalling PHP 90 billion (out of PHP 245 billion).
  • Also in terms of trade, the EU is one of your largest partners. The Philippines has a trade surplus with the EU in goods (thanks to GSP+) and Services (thanks to BPOs), of €1 billion. EU companies provide around 500,000 jobs in the Philippines.
  • Under GSP+, the Philippines benefits from zero duties for 2/3 of your exports to the EU market, mostly agri-food related products at 0%. This covered almost €1.5 billion worth of goods in 2015, an increase of 26% compared to the year before. GSP+ dialogue has helped labour conditions in the fishery industry.
  • The number of Filipinos living and working in the EU increased last year along by 14% reaching over 800,000. With remittances from the EU reaching USD 3.4 billion, we are the second largest source of foreign remittances. Filipinos are welcomed and respected in the EU, not the least as officers on many European vessels.
The importance of trade and investment in today's globalisation cannot be ignored, and we need each other especially in today's growing interdependence. The importance of trade and employment can also be seen in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) which includes a target of reducing unemployment rate from the current 5.5 percent to 3 to 5 percent by 2022. Job creation therefore is important and included in the targets is increased employment in key sectors such as industry and services.

In the EU we recognise the role of trade in similar objectives of reducing unemployment: More than 31 million jobs - almost one in seven - depend on our trade. In addition our trade supports 19 million jobs outside the EU. But not just any jobs: jobs related to trade pay on average better than jobs in the rest of the economy. Moreover, our FTAs contain strong provisions to promote the respect of labour rights and it is a priority to see that fundamental labour rights - like the abolition of child labour, the rights of workers to organise and non-discrimination at work – are effectively implemented in the EU and in our partner countries.

Apart from job creation, an important factor to consider is the quality of jobs generated from trade. The EU trade and investment policy is explicitly based on values by expanding measures to support sustainable development, fair and ethical trade and human rights, including by ensuring effective implementation of related FTA provisions and the Generalised Scheme of Preferences; and by including anti-corruption rules in future trade agreements. More and more, our citizens back home demand jobs that provide a decent living, that can provide for the welfare of the family.

But this training should help you to decide if there is indeed a relevance of trade for employment. I hope therefore that this training would not only help you in your daily work in quantifying the results of trade to the Philippine economy. But going beyond this, let's make the EU-Philippines an example to that, so that our trade can promote inclusive growth, jobs and reduce poverty by integrating MSMEs in our supply chains. Our FTA is a good start, but this project will bring the analysis for you to analyse, dialogue and decide if the above makes sense. And most of all – to create quality jobs for those 1.2 million Filipinos entering the labour market every year!

I would like to end by wishing you a successful workshop and hope that this will indeed be useful to your work in the future.

Thank you for your kind attention and a good morning to you all.