Philippine-Swiss Business Council (PSBC) GMM 2017 with Ambassador Reichlin

Local news, 19.06.2017

On 7 June 2017,  the Philippine-Swiss Business Council (PSBC), under the auspices of its parent chamber the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI),   held its General Membership Meeting graced by PCCI Chair Ambassador  Benedicto Yujuico and Philippine Department of  Trade and   Industry Undersecretary Nora Terrado.  Giving the final speech, Ambassador Andrea Reichlin mentioned the benefits of the impending EFTA-RP FTA while enjoining  the PSBC membership in “facilitating local procedures via its collective voice that may lend wings to the Philippine process.”  Below is a news article that came out pertinent to the event.  

In photo with Ambassador Reichlin, Ambassador Yujuico and Undersecretary Terrado are (L-R) Swiss Embassy Economic & Trade Officer Melanie Zoref, PSBC Chair Luis Mendez, PSBC Board Director Reiner Gloor (former Zuellig Pharma President), PSBC Board Director Pat Cortez currently President of DKSH Philippines, PSBC Vice Chair Atty. Ernesto Mascenon currently Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of Nestle Philippines, and PSBC Board Director Benjamin Los Baños currently SGS Philippines Manger for Corporate Marketing and Communications

Swiss urges PH to ratify FTA with EFTA countries

Published in the Manila Bulletin,  June 9, 2017, 10:01 PM by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

 Switzerland has urged the Philippines to ratify its free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which was concluded during the Aquino administration.

In a speech during the Philippine Swiss Business Council at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin said the Philippine ratification of the agreement will result in benefits for both Filipino and Swiss producers and consumers.

“Both Swiss and Filipino consumers will have access to lower priced products and a wider choice of products. The increased competition will foster productivity gains,” said Reichlin.

On April 27, 2016, the Philippines signed a comprehensive FTA with EFTA comprising of four of the world’s wealthiest nations – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The FTA only requires a ratification by Switzerland and the Philippines for it to come into force. Switzerland has already ratified the trade deal and is now awaiting Philippine ratification for it to take effect.

“Speaking of synergies, we are on the threshold of our free trade agreement’s entry into force. Our FTA, a product of determined synergism between five governments, has been ratified by the Swiss parliament and is now awaiting Philippine ratification for it to take effect. Let me here just quickly mention that we do not have to wait for all EFTA states to ratify the agreement,” she said.

The ambassador has asked the Philippine-Swiss Business Council to lend its collective voice that may help facilitate ratification by the Philippine Senate.

Switzerland, the envoy said, has a network of 28 FTS with 38 partners outside the European Union. The Philippines is Switzerland’s sixth largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. Among Swiss companies in the Philippines are Nestle, DKSH, SGS, Holcim, Novartis and Zuellig.

Overall, the Philippines is looking at benefiting from EFTA’s vast industries in the areas of shipbuilding, iron and steel, automotive and automotive parts and components, and aerospace and information technology-business  process management (IT-BPM), and chemicals.

In terms of shipbuilding, Norway has the most advanced industry and the Philippines hopes to tap this opportunity to build the capability of its booming shipbuilding and ship repair sector.

The Philippines also sees potential exports in creative services which include editing, sound mixing, dubbing, animation, and computer graphics.