Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippines and the European Union (EU) have successfully conducted the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on June 3.

The round took place late in Brussels last month with the participation of over 50 officials from Philippine departments and their EU counterparts.

According to DTI, the FTA will further reinforce the economic partnership between the Philippines and the EU by improving duty-free market access and promoting investments.

Since December 2014, the Philippines has enjoyed the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences-Plus arrangement which has provided duty-free access to the EU for over 6,000 Philippine products.

The FTA is expected to generate more jobs for Filipinos and better chances for inclusive growth and development, according to DTI.

The EU is one of the Philippines' top trade partners and sources of investments.

In 2015, the EU was the Philippines' fourth trade partner, with total trade amounting to 13.84 billion USD, accounting for about 10 percent of the country’s total trade with the world.

The EU is also the largest foreign investor in the Philippines, with a foreign direct investment (FDI) of about 7.87 billion USD.-VNA