Home » Customs & Trade, Press Releases » DTI study aims to help PH exporters tap EFTA market

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will conduct a market study on the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to help Philippine exporters effectively promote their products to EFTA member countries, particularly to Switzerland.

The market study, a joint undertaking of the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) with the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), will focus on three key export products—processed food, natural ingredients, and natural fiber and textiles.

The EMB, Swisscontact as SIPPO’s implementing organization, and the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines have signed a tripartite memorandum to implement the project, expected to be completed in December 2020.

SIPPO is an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) that aims to integrate developing and transition countries into world trade. It is implemented by Swisscontact, a Swiss non-government organization (NGO) promoting inclusive economic, social, and ecological development.

The market study aims to learn EFTA markets’ trade regulations, market access requirements, and market demand. It will also determine the unique selling position of Philippine products in these markets and acquire information on potential importers.

“The results of this study will guide our exporters, especially the MSMEs in the sectors of processed food, natural ingredients, and natural fibers, on how to effectively promote their products in these markets thus enabling them to maximize the benefits of our bilateral free trade agreement with EFTA,” EMB director Senen Perlada said in a statement.

Since June 1, 2018, the EFTA-Philippines Free Trade Agreement has provided for preferential treatment for trade in goods and services between the two parties.

EFTA was established during the Stockholm Convention in 1960 and is comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. EFTA nations have a total landmass of 529,600 square kilometers and a combined estimated total population of 14.26 million. Their combined gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at US$1 trillion.

Switzerland has a total landmass of 41,277 square kilometers, and a GDP valued at $679 billion, the largest among EFTA nations.

EFTA is the ninth largest trader in the world in merchandise trade and the fifth largest in trade in services.

In 2019, Philippine exports to EFTA were valued at $433.81 million, while imports amounted to $384.19 million. Total Philippine trade with EFTA reached $817.99 million while the balance of trade was valued at $49.62 million.

Switzerland was the largest export market of the Philippines among the EFTA nations last year, with exports valued at $417 million, while imports were valued at $351.79 million. Total Philippine trade with Switzerland amounted to $817.99 million.

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