The Department of Trade and Industry is expecting more investments coming from four European countries after the senate on Monday ratified the Philippines-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
In a statement released on Wednesday, March 7, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this will mean duty-free market access of Philippine goods to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and vice versa.
“While there’s a large potential to expand our trade and investment relations with EFTA, the FTA also capitalizes on it since trade goods between the Philippines and EFTA are non-competing,” he added.
Since the start of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term, the administration has been leaning towards seeking stronger relations with less traditional partners.
The FTA is expected to bring in more investments on finance renewable energy, information technology and business process management, construction and environmental services, and maritime transport.
This will also mean easier entry for Filipino workers into the EFTA member states, especially for executives, managers and specialists going through intra-corporate transfer, business visitors, contractual service suppliers and service industrial machinery suppliers.
This is the second FTA the Philippines has sealed after the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement. The FTA will only take effect after the Philippines and an EFTA member ratifies the agreement.
Mr. Lopez said that the EFTA FTA will mean better access to the European market, after years of being a recipient of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) which grants reduced to zero tariffs on more than 6,000 outbound merchandise to the European Union. — Anna Gabriel A. Mogato