The EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) signed a free trade agreement with the Philippines on 28 April 2016.
The main objectives of the agreement are to liberalise trade in goods and services. One focus of the agreement is the abolition of customs duties and the introduction of tariff reductions between the states.
The agreement also includes provisions for the protection of intellectual property and investment.
The Southeast Asian country’s trade volume with the EFTA countries has been growing steadily since 2005, averaging 11%.
The Philippines mainly exports medical equipment, mineral compounds and textiles to the EFTA countries. The main export goods from the EFTA countries to the Philippines are electronic devices and pharmaceutical products.
With this agreement, Switzerland is expanding the circle of South-East Asian trading partners with liberalised trade relations. Similar agreements already exist with Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. Switzerland has also concluded bilateral agreements with China and Japan outside EFTA.
The agreement must now be ratified by all countries in order to enter into force.