InterAksyon.com | June 16, 2014
Philippines, EFTA sign deal this week to explore possible free trade accord
By: Chelsea Cruz
MANILA — Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials are off to Iceland this week to sign a deal that would pave the way for greater trade with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
In a statement, DTI said the Joint Declaration on Cooperation (JDC) will be signed on June 23, setting the stage for negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the 4-nation EFTA, which groups Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
"Pursuing a strategic partnership with EFTA is one of the country’s priority trade engagements. Potential exports to EFTA could include products which we are already exporting to the European Union. We are also an ideal processing hub for food exporters like Iceland and Norway," Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said.
"The JDC is key to identifying areas where we can complement EFTA’s industries with our own areas of strengths and to replicate the model in various applicable sectors. Building on the potential exports to EFTA based on Philippine exports to EU could address concerns on the geographical distance of the market while investments in food processing, shipping and the maritime sectors are also areas to explore," Cristobal said.
EFTA has FTAs with 35 countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Central American States (Costa Rica and Panama), Chile, Colombia, Egypt, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Hong Kong-China, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Peru, Serbia, Singapore, member-states of Southern African Customs Union, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine.