MANILA — The Philippines and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will sign Joint Declaration on Cooperation (JDC) on June 23 during the EFTA Ministerial Meeting in Iceland, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
EFTA is composed Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Through the JDC, the Philippines and the four mentioned countries will expand trade relation by exchanging views and cooperation in the areas of technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, public procurement, competition and trade and sustainable development.
It is also an initial step towards free trade agreement of the country and EFTA.
“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,” said DTI Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr.
“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 added.
He mentioned that the partnership with EFTA is one of the trade engagements that the Philippines prioritizes.
“Potential exports to EFTA could include products which we are already exporting to the European Union (EU). We are also an ideal processing hub for food exporters like Iceland and Norway,” Cristobal said.
Prior to the JDC, the Philippines and EFTA have been conducting series of high-level and expert group meetings.
EFTA-based companies also have strong partnership with Filipino companies through joint ventures in areas such as electrical equipment, chemicals, industrial machinery, mechanical engineering industries, and pharmaceuticals sectors.