• Free trade agreement boosts commerce between Philippines, Malaysia

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Thursday that Malaysia and the Philippines will be “enjoying benefits of trade with lower tariffs” with the signing recently of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

    The agreement reduced and even cancelled some trade requirements between the two countries.

    At present, Philippine exports to Malaysia include semiconductor materials, electronics apparatus and other mechanical machineries.

    According to the National Statistics Office, the Philippines last year exported a total of $1.02 billion worth of goods to Malaysia—a 7.38 percent drop from the $1.1 billion in 2011.

    The country imported $2.5 billion worth of goods from Malaysia, which declined by 5.17 percent from the $2.64 billion in 2011. The Philippines’ top import from Malaysia is still petroleum products.

    The Philippines have seven existing free trade agreements with countries in the Asia-Pacific area.

    Malaysian companies with subsidiaries in the Philippines include Resorts World Hotel, Shangri-la Hotels, Maybank and MTD Capital BHD, which developed the South Luzon Expressway.

    KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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