Senate concurs with ratified free trade agreement with European states

March 6, 2018

The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution expressing the Upper Chamber’s concurrence with the ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states.

Senator Loren Legarda, sponsor of Senate Resolution No. 647, said the measure concurs with the ratification of the FTA between the Philippines and the EFTA states. The resolution was approved with 19 votes, zero negative vote, and no abstention.

“Entering into an FTA with EFTA is part of the country’s strategy to gain a stronger foothold in the European market,” said Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

“Considering that EFTA requires the same standards as the EU, this will allow Philippine exporters to Europe to gain from economies of scale through improved market access in both EU and EFTA,” Legarda stressed.

President Duterte ratified the agreement on December 8, 2017. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led the negotiations in behalf of the Philippines together with other government agencies.

Then DTI Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. signed the agreement in Bern, Switzerland on April 28, 2016.

The agreement with the EFTA member states: Republic of Iceland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Kingdom of Norway, and the Swiss Confederation covers trade in goods, services, investment, government procurement, intellectual property rights, competition and sustainable development.

“It incorporates the existing World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and obligations with respect to areas governing trade in goods and services with additional disciplines agreed upon by both parties,” the resolution added.

The FTA also allows for a secure market access for Philippine agriculture exports. This would enable the Philippines to significantly improve the country’s market share vis-à-vis the other ASEAN Member States in the EFTA market.

Legarda said opening markets through agreements such as the PH-EFTA FTA goes hand-in-hand with all the economic reforms and ease of doing business initiatives of the government.

Source Manila Bulletin