| Manila

Norway and Switzerland project boost in economic relations after Senate concurrence on EFTA-Ph FTA

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation, established in 1960 by the EFTA Convention for the promotion of free trade and economic integration between its Member States (today Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), within Europe and globally.

Manila - Norwegian Ambassador Erik Førner and Swiss Ambassador Andrea Reichlin lauded the Philippine Senate for the successful concurrence of the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), namely Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.

 “We are pleased to hear the good news on the recent decision of the Senate for the ratification of EFTA” said Amb. Forner. “This agreement is beneficial to both parties and will encourage and stimulate cross-border trade,” he added.

Ambassadors Førner and Reichlin likewise congratulated Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Loren Legarda for successfully sponsoring the Senate resolution 64, gaining 19 unanimous affirmative votes with no abstention.

“FTAs provide entrepreneurial incentives, as well as the highest political commitment to move forward in the best interest of respective citizens and in managing global commerce,” said Amb. Reichlin during the recent (6 March) breakfast discussion with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Swiss companies.

She added, “FTAs achieve better results for our respective workplaces, our consumers and for the improvement of living standards than restrictive international collaboration.” 

Ambassador Førner shared that Norway hopes to intensify trade in goods and services in a number of areas such as fisheries, seafaring, maritime transport, energy as well as financial services in the Philippines.

Ambassador Reichlin, on the other hand, shared that Switzerland is eager to share its innovative technologies in Clean Tech, pharmaceutical, renewable energy and precision engineering, among other sectors.

Next to Singapore, the EFTA agreement with the Philippines is the second successful FTA of the economic bloc in the ASEAN region.

Once the agreement enters into force, both the EFTA member states and the Philippines would abolish most customs duties and enjoy free market access in goods and services.

This year Norway celebrates its 70th year of bilateral relationship with the Philippines, while Switzerland, on the other hand, celebrated its 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations last year.