• Swiss envoy urges PH to ratify free trade deal

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    SWITZERLAND is urging the Philippines to ratify a free trade agreement (FTA) that will benefit both Swiss and Filipino producers and consumers.

    “Both Swiss and Filipino producers will profit from input goods at lower prices. Both Swiss and Filipino consumers will have access to lower priced products and a wider choice of products. The increased competition will foster productivity gains,” Ambassador Andrea Reichlin of Switzerland said in a statement Friday.

    The free trade deal has been ratified by the Swiss Parliament, but it cannot be enforced until the Philippine does the same.

    “Let me here just quickly mention that we do not have to wait for all European Free Trade Association states to ratify the agreement. Ratification by Switzerland and the Philippines is all it takes for the FTA to come into force.

    This Council membership can facilitate local procedures via its collective voice that may lend wings to the Philippine process,” Reichlin added.

    She asked the Philippine-Swiss Business Council to lend its collective voice and help facilitate ratification by the Philippines.

    Switzerland has a network of 28 FTAs with 38 partners outside the European Union.

    “By Swiss experience, there will be a market increase in trade flows especially in the first four years following the entry into force of the FTA,” Reichlin said.

    Swiss exports to free trade partners outside of the European Union rose by 8.5 percent on average per year in the first four years after an FTA takes effect, the ambassador noted. “In addition, there will be significant savings in customs duties by companies from both sides,” she said.

    The Philippines is Switzerland’s sixth largest trading partner in Southeast Asia.

    Among the notable Swiss companies in the Philippines are Nestle Philippines Inc., DKSH Philippines Inc., SGS Philippines, Holcim Philippines Inc., Novartis Healthcare Philippines Inc. and Zuellig Pharma Corp.

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