After three years of negotiations, the Philippines will sign a deal with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) nations to improve two-way investments and trade.
EFTA is made up of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said a delegation will head to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik on 23 June to attend an EFTA Ministerial Meeting and sign the Joint Declaration on Corporation (JDC).
The JDC is viewed as a first step towards a free trade agreement (FTA). It provides a venue to talk about different barriers to trade, trade facilitation, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, public procurement, sustainable development, intellectual property rights and completion and trade.
The JDC can also be beneficial in terms of private sector cooperation and enables a joint committee to be put in place so both parties can review cooperation and talk about other matters of mutual interest.
Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said one of the Philippines’ priority trade engagements has been to pursue a strategic partnership with EFTA, explaining that boosting trade with the group would improve the country’s exports of mineral compounds, textile and apparel, medical instruments and mineral compounds.