To strengthen the Philippines’ trade with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), particularly Switzerland, the Department of Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Swiss Import Promotion Program (Sippo) will conduct a market study on three key export products.
In a statement on Tuesday, the DTI said Swisscontact, the Swiss nongovernmental organization implementing Sippo; the EMB; and the Swiss embassy in Manila signed a tripartite agreement on conducting the study, which was expected to be completed in December. It identified the products as processed food, natural ingredients, and natural fiber and textiles.
Sippo is an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs that aims to integrate developing and transition countries into world trade.
The study aims to learn EFTA markets’ trade regulation, market access requirements and market demand. It also aims to determine the unique selling position of Philippine products in their market and acquire information on potential importers.
“The results of this study will guide our exporters, especially MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) in the sectors of processed food, natural ingredients and natural fibers on how to effectively promote their products in these markets thus enabling them to maximize the benefits of our bilateral free trade agreement with EFTA,” EMB Director Senen Perlada said.
Since June 2018, the EFTA-Philippines Free Trade Agreement has given the country preferential treatment for trade in goods and services.
EFTA is composed of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It was established during the Stockholm Convention in 1960.
Philippine exports to EFTA in 2019 were valued at $433.81 million and imports at $384.19 million.
Among EFTA members, Switzerland is the largest export market of the Philippines. Exports to that country were worth $417 million and imports, $351.79 million.
EFTA is the ninth largest trader in the world in merchandise and the fifth largest in services.