FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTAS)
ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)
In 1999, ASEAN member economies established the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which seeks to encourage and deepen their commitments in trade, investment, and industrial cooperation as well as increase ASEAN’s competitive edge as a production base in the world market. All ASEAN countries committed to reduce intra-regional tariffs, through the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme for AFTA, to 0-5 percent within a 15-year time period beginning in 1993. Once achieved, AFTA will further stimulate regional economic growth and subsequently raise the incomes of its member states.
At present, more than 99 percent of products listed in the CEPT Inclusion List (IL) of ASEAN-6 have been brought down by the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to the 0-5 percent tariff range. Meanwhile, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia, were able to bring down tariffs of almost 80 percent of their products in the CEPT ILS.
The Philippines is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with its original members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Myanmar later joined making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
In 1992, the ASEAN Member States signed the ASEAN Free Trade (AFTA) Agreement. AFTA covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other areas of cooperation.
To date, ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) with China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.
ASEAN Plus Six (ASEAN +6)
The ASEAN Plus Six (ASEAN +6) is an economic partnership of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, to promote cooperation in energy, foods, and to accelerate economic growth. The regional framework took shape at the First East Asia Summit in December 2005, expanding the ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN plus China, Japan, and South Korea) that was created to promote regional cooperation to address issues in the region such as the Asian currency crisis in 1997.
ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA)
The ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) seeks to establish a single market and production base with free flow of goods in the ASEAN region, a major component of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). It was signed by ASEAN member states in February 2009 and entered into force in May 2010. The ATIGA is an enhancement of the Agreement on Common Effective Preferential Tariff of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (CEPT-AFTA) scheme.
With the coming into force of ATIGA, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have eliminated intra-ASEAN import duties on 99.56 percent of their tariff lines, while Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam have reduced their import duties to 0-5 percent on 98.86 percent of their tariff lines.
European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
The Philippines signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, on 28 April 2016 in Bern, Switzerland. The Parties are currently undertaking their respective domestic processes for the ratification and entry into force of the Agreement. Prior to the FTA, the Philippines also signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation.
The Philippines' engagement with EFTA is part of a parallel three-pronged approach to increase the country's presence in the European region through the FTA engagements with EFTA and the European Union (EU) and the EU Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)-plus.
PH-EFTA FTA Texts
Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA)
The Philippines’ only comprehensive economic bilateral agreement is the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA). PJEPA is a comprehensive economic agreement between the Philippines and Japan. It was ratified by the Philippine senate and was implemented starting December 11, 2008. The agreement has chapters on, among others, Trade in Goods, Trade In Services, Investments, Movement of Natural Persons, Intellectual Property, Customs Procedures, Government Procurement and Improvement of the Business Environment.
The agreement is currently undergoing a general review by both parties. In the review, the government will focus on the utilization of PJEPA concessions and negotiate for improved terms particularly in agricultural products and in services.
PJEPA provides duty free access to 80 perecent of Philippine exports to Japan, consisting of 7,476 products such as food products, garments and textiles, furniture, metal manufactures, minerals, machinery and equipment parts, electronics, motor vehicle parts, and chemicals.