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The first round of free trade talks between the Philippines and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – convened last week (24-27 March 2015) in Makati, Philippines. The delegations were led by Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. (left) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the Philippines and Ambassador Didier Chambovey (right) of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) representing the four EFTA Member States. The free trade negotiation was launched four months after both sides agreed on the objectives and key principles of the negotiations. Various working groups convened to discuss areas such as trade in goods, services, investments, intellectual property rights, competition, government procurement, trade and sustainable development and legal and institutional issues. Prior to the formal trade talks, a Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the Philippines and EFTA was signed on 23 June 2014 in Iceland. The next round of negotiations is scheduled on 30 June-3 July 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. (DTI-PRU)