Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led the Philippine delegation and Ambassador Didier Chambovey of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) acted as the EFTA Spokesperson.
Various working groups convened to discuss areas such as trade in goods (including technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade remedies and trade facilitation), trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition, trade and sustainable development, and legal and institutional issues. The meetings were held in a positive and efficient atmosphere, and good progress was achieved in several areas.
The first round of negotiations took place in the Philippines in March 2015. Prior to the formal free trade talks, a joint declaration on cooperation between EFTA and the Philippines was signed on 23 June 2014 in Iceland and a scoping exercise was concluded in November 2014.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in September 2015.
Total commodity trade between the EFTA States and the Philippines has grown steadily over the last years, with an increase of just over 4% from 2010 to 2014 and total trade in 2014 amounting to around USD 636 million. The stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines’ economy originating from the EFTA States has almost tripled in the last ten years. In 2012, the outward stock of EFTA FDI in the Philippines stood at approximately USD 4 billion.
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