Philippines, four European countries eye trade pact

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EFTA countries
EFTA countries (in red)

The Philippines and four countries in Europe that are not part of the European Union, but the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are eyeing a free trade deal, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

According to Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr., the Philippines and EFTA, composed of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, would start by November 2013 to undertake studies as well as technical discussions for a free trade agreement.

Cristobal said the EFTA member countries first expressed interest to pursue a free trade deal with the Philippines on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting in 2011. The visit to the Philippines of Swiss State secretary for economic affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch in June 2013 was a follow-up on the interest in a Philippine-EFTA trade agreement, Cristobal said.

The four EFTA countries are seen as an emerging source of foreign direct investment.

“We’re studying closely the potential advantages,” Cristobal said, adding that the Philippine-EFTA trade agreement may “move faster” than the ongoing discussions for an FTA with the EU.

EFTA is also currently engaged in negotiations on free trade agreements with other ASEAN members such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. EFTA already has an existing FTA with Singapore. The group is engaged in 26 FTAs involving 36 trading partners.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

EFTA countries (in red)

The Philippines and four countries in Europe that are not part of the European Union, but the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are eyeing a free trade deal, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

Reading Time: 1 minute

EFTA countries
EFTA countries (in red)

The Philippines and four countries in Europe that are not part of the European Union, but the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are eyeing a free trade deal, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

According to Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr., the Philippines and EFTA, composed of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, would start by November 2013 to undertake studies as well as technical discussions for a free trade agreement.

Cristobal said the EFTA member countries first expressed interest to pursue a free trade deal with the Philippines on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting in 2011. The visit to the Philippines of Swiss State secretary for economic affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch in June 2013 was a follow-up on the interest in a Philippine-EFTA trade agreement, Cristobal said.

The four EFTA countries are seen as an emerging source of foreign direct investment.

“We’re studying closely the potential advantages,” Cristobal said, adding that the Philippine-EFTA trade agreement may “move faster” than the ongoing discussions for an FTA with the EU.

EFTA is also currently engaged in negotiations on free trade agreements with other ASEAN members such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. EFTA already has an existing FTA with Singapore. The group is engaged in 26 FTAs involving 36 trading partners.

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