PHL, Switzerland to hold 1st economic meeting

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Friday, July 11, 2014

THE Philippines and Switzerland will convene the first meeting of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) next week to discuss further cooperation on trade and investments between the two countries, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Friday.

Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal will chair the JEC slated on June 14 together with the Head of the Bilateral Economic Relations of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Ambassador Livia Leu.

The JEC aims to provide a venue for focused discussions on trade, investment and economic cooperation between the government and the private sector, DTI said.

"The convening of the Philippines-Switzerland JEC is part of our strategy to intensify our trade engagements in Europe," Cristobal said.

Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Ivo Sieber said his government looks forward to the event.

"This is a concrete follow-through of the agreement establishing JEC in June last year and the recent signing of the Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the Philippines and European Free Trade Association in June of this year," Sieber said.

The JEC was established through an agreement signed in June 2013 by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary and Director of SECO, Federal Department of Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation.

The Philippines, through the DTI, will be hosting the inaugural meeting, which will include discussions on, among others, a review of trade and investment relations, exchange of views on multilateral, regional and bilateral integration initiatives, initiatives to improve the business environment, and trade and investment promotion and economic cooperation proposals.

A Business Forum will be held on the same day after the JEC inaugural meeting. Said forum will take the form of presentations and panel discussion on Investing and Business Opportunities in the Philippines and Switzerland.

"The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Philippines-Switzerland Business Council (PSBC) have played an important role in identifying areas of mutual interest which can be the basis for enhanced cooperation," Cristobal said.

Switzerland is the Philippines' largest trading partner in EFTA with 91 percent share. Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2013 amounted to $611.6 million. (SDR/Sunnex)

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