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Representatives of the European Free Trade Association - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland - and the Philippines signed a free trade agreement in the Swiss capital of Bern on April 28.
The FTA builds on a joint declaration of cooperation signed between EFTA and the Philippines in Iceland in June 2014. The FTA negotiations commenced in March 2015 and concluded in February 2016.
The FTA is comprehensive in scope, covering: trade in goods, including industrial and agricultural goods, fish and other marine products; rules of origin; trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; trade in services; investment; competition; protection of intellectual property rights; government procurement; and sustainable development.
According to EFTA, merchandise trade between the EFTA states and the Philippines increased at an average annual rate of 11 percent between 2005 and 2015.
In 2015, total merchandise trade between the EFTA states and the Philippines was valued at USD863m, with EFTA's exports to the Philippines amounting to USD407m and exports from the Philippine to EFTA reaching USD456m.
EFTA now has 27 free trade agreements with 37 non-EU partners.
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