The Philippines, Finland Conclude Successful Political Consultations

The Philippines and Finland successfully concluded the fourth round of bilateral political consultations at the Diamond Hotel in Manila last Friday.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio and Finnish State Secretary Pertti Torstila chaired the meeting, the DFA said in a statement issued Saturday.

The statement quoted Basilio as saying holding consultations means keeping the bilateral connection between the two countries alive. The DFA noted the last political consultation between the two countries was held in Manila 10 years ago.

Philippine and Finnish delegations focused their discussions by mapping out the future directions for bilateral relations, particularly on ways to enhance the two countries’ cooperation in the political, economic and development fields, conflict management, and people-to-people links.

These items were a follow-up on the high-level seminar held in Helsinki last May 26, where mechanisms of cooperation were created and hoped to be implemented by 2015.

Philippine-Finnish bilateral trade was also assessed during the consultations.

“At the event, the idea of sending a trade delegation to the Philippines sometime this year was mentioned,” the DFA said.

Finland remains as the Philippines’ largest trading partner in Northern Europe, with bilateral trade totaling $118.3 billion in 2010.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international developments in the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Middle East and North Africa, and climate change.

Both sides agreed to hold the fifth round of political consultations in Helsinki in 2013.

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