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Norway, PH seal stronger trade relations through EFTA

Member state representatives of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Philippine Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. signed a free trade agreement on 28 April 2016 in Bern, Switzerland.

The agreement will give EFTA members - Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – better access to the growing market of the Philippines. Meanwhile, the agreement will encourage greater investments in the service and non-service sectors and capital inflow for the Philippines. The agreement includes trade in goods and services, investments, intellectual property rights, competition, government procurement, and sustainable development. The momentous signing ceremony concludes the five free trade negotiations and eight consultations between the two parties.

‘The agreement is yet another milestone for Norway-Philippines bilateral relations and economic activities. I am confident that this will benefit both countries not just in trading our products and services, but through combining our strengths, innovation and creativity,’ says Ambassador Erik Førner.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry in the Philippines, the Philippines’ top exports to the EFTA member states are gold in semi-manufactured forms, digital monolithic integrated circuits, aircraft parts, printed circuits, denture products and silver. On the other hand, Philippine imports from EFTA include medicaments, diagnostic or laboratory reagents, aircraft components and watches.

‘This is a win-win situation for both Norway and the Philippines. Such cooperation will further boost our already close and strong ties. A free trade agreement is an opportunity to expand further our partnership with the Philippines, which is now one of the fastest growing economies in the region,’ says Ambassador Førner.

Details on the free trade agreement can be found here.