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Philippines, EFTA Looking At FTA

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

01 October 2013


The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry is looking at the negotiation of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the four countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal has disclosed that the countries within EFTA had first expressed an interest in an FTA with the Philippines last year, before the idea was resurrected in June this year. Both parties have now confirmed their strong interest in exploring such an agreement.

It is expected that impact studies and technical discussions on the possible agreement will begin by the end of this year, with Switzerland taking the lead role for EFTA. While there is an opportunity to reduce tariffs significantly within a trade treaty, it is also seen in the Philippines that an FTA could increase foreign direct investment from the four countries.

While the Philippines has signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union (EU), which is normally seen as the forerunner of a full FTA, talks on the latter have not yet started.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Iceland | tariffs | trade treaty | Liechtenstein | Norway | Philippines | agreements | Switzerland | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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