To strengthen Philippine trade with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Switzerland in particular, the Department of Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) are conducting a market study on three key export products of the Philippines: Processed Food, Natural Ingredients, and Natural Fiber & Textiles.
Swisscontact as SIPPO’s implementing organization, the DTI-EMB, and the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines signed a Tripartite Memorandum to implement the project which is expected to be completed in December 2020. SIPPO is an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) that aims at integrating developing and transition countries into world trade. SIPPO is implemented by Swisscontact, a longstanding Swiss non-government organization (NGO) promoting inclusive economic, social, and ecological development.
The market study aims to learn EFTA markets’ trade regulation, market access requirements, and market demand. It will also determine the unique selling position of Philippine products in their market and acquire information on potential importers.
DTI-EMB, together with DTI-Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) met with the Embassy of Switzerland, SIPPO Officers, and industry experts online on 07 July 2020 to discuss the implementation of the market study.
“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,” said DTI-EMB Director Senen Perlada.
The project is an example of close economic cooperation with Switzerland, which has been intensified over the years. Since 1 June 2018, the EFTA-Philippines Free Trade Agreement provides preferential treatment for trade in goods and services.
EFTA is comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland and was established during the Stockholm Convention in 1960. EFTA Nations have a total landmass of 529,600 square kilometers and a combined estimated total population of 14,260,000. Its combined GDP is estimated at US$1.0 Trillion.
Switzerland has a total landmass of 41,277 square kilometers, and a GDP valued at US$679 Billion, the largest among EFTA Nations. EFTA is the ninth largest trader in the world in merchandise trade and the fifth largest in trade in services.
In 2019, Philippine exports to EFTA were valued at U$433.81 million while imports were valued at US$384.19 million. Total Philippine trade with EFTA was valued at US$817.99 million while the balance of trade was valued at US$49.62 million. Switzerland was the largest export market of the Philippines among the EFTA Nations valued at US$417 million while imports were valued at US$351.79 million. Total Philippine trade with Switzerland was valued at US$817.99 million.
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