DTI to boost trade activities with EFTA, particularly Switzerland
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is leading a market study to improve the country’s trade activities with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), particularly Switzerland.
In a news statement released on Tuesday, the DTI’S Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) announced it has inked a tripartite memorandum with the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) and the Embassy of Switzerland. The memorandum binds the agencies to undertake a market study on three key export products of the Philippines: processed food, natural ingredients and natural fiber and textile.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and it will be implemented by the DTI along with the embassy and Swisscontact, a nongovernment organization advocating for inclusive economic, social and ecological development.
According to EMB Director Senen M. Perlada, the market study aims to find out about EFTA markets’ trade regulation, market access requirements and market demand. It should also determine the unique selling positionof philippine products and acquire information on potential importers.
“The results of this study will guide our exporters, especially the MSMES in the sectors of processed food, natural ingredients, and natural fibers, on how to effectively promote their products in these markets, thus, enabling them to maximize the benefits of our bilateral free trade agreement with EFTA,” Perlada explained.
The project was also made to show the economic cooperation between the Philippines and Switzerland, which has been intensified over the years. Since 2018, the Efta-philippines Free Trade Agreement provides preferential treatment for trade in goods and services.
EFTA is made up of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and was established during the Stockholm Convention in 1960. EFTA nations make for a strong market for exporters with their population of 14.26 million people and a GDP estimated at $1 trillion.
Switzerland, for its part, has a GDP valued at $679 billion, the largest among EFTA economies. EFTA is the ninth-largest trader in the world in merchandise trade and the fifth largest in trade in services.
Last year Philippine exports to EFTA reached $433.81 million, while imports hit $384.19 million. Two way trade with EFTA was valued at $817.99 million, while the balance of trade was pegged at $49.62 million.
Switzerland was the largest export market of the Philippines among the EFTA nations with a total value of $417 million, while imports were valued at $351.79 million. Philippine trade with Switzerland last year was recorded at $817.99 million.