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The Philippine-Swiss JEC serves as a platform for regular dialogue and exchanges between the two countries for specific economic and trade issues, developments in the multilateral and regional fora, and initiatives to facilitate trade, as well as achieve greater collaboration among government agencies and the private sector. The agreement establishing the Philippines-Switzerland JEC was ratified on December 19, 2013, while the first JEC meeting was held in Manila in mid-2014.?
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The second JEC focused on the implementation of previous commitments and agreements, as well as the country?s proposals to increase cooperation in the areas of tourism, investments, renewable energy and labor.
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?The second JEC reaffirmed our interest to become a part of the Swiss Import Program [Sipo], which will complement our domestic initiatives to build the capacity of local exporters, and enable them to adhere to stringent standards of the Swiss market,? Cristobal said.
Meanwhile, Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said, ?We are engaging Switzerland as part of our three-pronged strategy to increase investments and gain broader market access in Europe. Our objective is to further strengthen the emerging and thriving sectors of our industry and generate more job opportunities that will benefit our local communities.? Areas identified for Swiss investments are manufacturing (chemicals, electronics, parts manufacturing in aerospace), MRO and training for Aerospace, non-voice BPM, software development, renewable energy, and public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the Philippines stands to benefit from a further expanded European market, as it is also anticipating renewed trade agreements with the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and the European Union (EU). Moreover, Filipino exporters are expected to aggressively utilize the EU?s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus, which provides 6,274 eligible products duty-free access to the EU market.
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Terrado noted that during the JEC, Swiss government officials and the representatives from the Swiss private sector lauded the Philippines?s positive economic outlook, as well as its pursuit of domestic and international initiatives.
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?Our 6.3-percent growth in the last quarter of 2015 is a clear indicator of our stellar economic performance. This year we are projected to have a growth rate of around 6 percent, despite the weak global economic stance,? Terrado said. ?We are certain that our engagement with Switzerland will sustain the upward momentum of the Philippine economy.?
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Terrado added that the DTI has been taking steps to strengthen local industries; improve governance by undertaking reforms; and ratifying legislations, such as the Philippine Competition Act, to simplify business transactions, ease the process of doing business by reducing the process into three steps, level the playing field for all businesses, and promote transparency in the bidding of government projects.
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The Philippines-Switzerland JEC covers trade in goods, services, investments, improvement of the business environment and cooperation, among other areas that will enhance economic ties between the two countries.
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Switzerland is among the country?s major European investors. During the first nine months of 2015, IPA-approved investments from Switzerland stood at P377.76 million, a considerable improvement over the P349.13 million recorded in the same period of the previous year. Last year a total of 60 Swiss companies were operating in the Philippines, employing more than 15,000 Filipinos. Last year also Philippine exports to Switzerland increased by 6.47 percent.
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The third JEC meeting will be held in the Philippines in 2018.?



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