DTI targeting Nordic, Swiss manufacturers
Manufacturers from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein are now on the cross-hair of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as it hopes to integrate Philippine firms in the global supply chains of the European companies.
The DTI wants to tap the “vast potentials” of the country’s bilateral relations with these four countries, collectively known as the European Free Trade Association (Efta), following the signing of a joint declaration on cooperation (JDC) last week.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said the department hopes to increase collaborations in a number of industries such as shipbuilding, iron and steel, auto and auto parts and components as well as aerospace, IT-BPM, and pharmaceuticals area.
“The Philippines has been reaching out more to Efta just as our Asean neighbors are doing. We have studied the possibilities and potential benefits of entering into a more active relationship with Efta states and we believe that there are strong complementarities,” Cristobal said.
“For example, Norway’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry can be explored to support our local industry’s goal to develop a maritime equipment industry which can supply domestic and Asean requirements,” he added.
The four Efta states may prove to be strategic trading and investment partners for the Philippines given their extensive networks of preferential trade relations worldwide. Apart from the European Union, Efta’s network of free trade agreements currently extends to 35 countries, and more free trade negotiations are underway.
“The Philippines has a competitive supply of voice and non-voice services and IT solutions to Efta member states in the sectors of banking, shipbuilding, precision engineering, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. Similarly we see a significant export potential in creative services which includes editing, sound mixing, dubbing, animation and computer graphics,” Cristobal explained.
As of end-2013, the value of merchandise trade the Philippines and Efta states amounted to $633 million. The Efta states exported goods to the Philippines worth S440 million, comprising mainly of pharmaceutical products, aircraft and machinery. Imports from the Philippines, which reached $193 million, consisted of machinery as well as optical, medical and surgical instruments.
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