PH approves free trade agreement with Europe

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that it has deposited the country’s instrument of ratification of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on March 22.

The deposit of instrument of ratification is the final step to put the agreement into effect. The delivery of the said instrument to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila was led by DFA Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Manuel Teehanke. It was received by Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Forner who came to represent the EFTA States.

The country’s second bilateral FTA to date, the Philippine-EFTA FTA was ratified by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Dec. 8, 2017 and was approved by the Senate through Resolution No. 93 last March 5.

The agreement mandates that the FTA shall be of effect on the first day of the third month following the date, on which at least one EFTA State and the Philippines have deposited their instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval with the Depositary.

According to DFA, the Philippine-EFTA FTA will be implemented on July 1, 2018.

“The eventual entry-into-force of the agreement will provide a significant boost to economic activities between the Philippines and the EFTA States,” Teehankee said.

“Several companies have approached us to register their strong interest in the implementation of the agreement,” he added.

Swiss Federation Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin earlier said that having a free trade deal provides entrepreneurial incentives, as well as the highest political commitment for signatories to move forward in the best interest of their respective citizens and in managing global commerce.