The Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) inked a tripartite agreement with the Swiss Embassy in Manila and the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO), for conducting a market study with the objective of enhancing the Philippines’ trade with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, particularly Switzerland. The research is expected to be completed by December 2020.
In 2018, the Philippines entered into a free trade deal with the EFTA countries, comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Bilateral trade between the Philippines and EFTA reached USD 818 million in 2019, including USD 434 million of Philippine exports to EFTA nations and combined imports of USD 385 million from the four countries. Among the four, Switzerland is the Philippine’s largest trading partner, with 2019 export value alone amounting to USD 417 million and imports at USD 351.79 million.
The study will focus on Filipino export products particularly processed food, natural ingredients, and natural fiber and textiles and and will reportedly cover EFTA markets’ trade regulations, market access requirements, and market demand. It aims to confirm the unique selling proposition of Philippine products in the region’s market and identify potential importers of the four products mentioned. The results of this study are supposed to guide Filipino exporters, especially MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) on how to effectively promote their products in the EFTA markets, thus enabling them to maximize the benefits of the bilateral free trade agreement.
SIPPO is an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs that aims to support the integration of developing countries into world trade. The research will be conducted by Swisscontact, a non-government organization that advocates for inclusive economic, social and ecological development.
(Sources: Manila Bulletin, Business Mirror)