DTI to boost trade ac­tiv­i­ties with EFTA, par­tic­u­larly Switzer­land

BusinessMirror - - News - By Eli­jah Felice E. Ros­ales @alyas­jah

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.

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