Philippines and Switzerland hold 2nd Meeting of Joint Economic Commission

Bern, Switzerland – The Second Meeting of the Joint Economic Commission between the Philippines and Switzerland was convened on 27 April. The Meeting was co-chaired by DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado and Ambassador Livia Leu, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of the Swiss Confederation.

The discussion focused on the recently concluded Free Trade Agreement between the Philippines and the four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members states (comprising of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland); the Philippines’ bid to become a priority country for the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO); regional and multilateral economic issues; the implementation of existing bilateral agreements as well as the perspectives of the private sector in relation to the domestic developments of both countries.

“The JEC between the Philippines and Switzerland fully complements and enhances the PH – EFTA Free Trade Agreement allowing both countries to create an environment conducive for our private sector to seize the benefits,” stated DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

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OECD launches book on PH investment policy review

04_26_16 SASC_OECDaOECD launches book on PH investment policy review. DTI Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. spoke before members of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and dignitaries from various countries at the book launching of “Investment Policy Review of the Philippines,” in Paris, France yesterday (April 26, 2016). Cristobal said “This first OECD Investment Policy Review of the Philippines presents to the world the reforms our country has instituted since 2010 to achieve a better investment climate. The Philippine investment climate should benefit not only firms –whether foreign or domestic, large or small – but also society at large.” Cristobal assured the international community that these reforms which have been initiated will continue “not because of administrations but because it makes for good economics.” The “Investment Policy Review of the Philippines” provides a comprehensive approach in strengthening policies and institutions in the Philippines. The review is aligned with the recently updated OECD Policy Framework for Investment (PFI). The OECD is an international policy think tank composed of 34 member countries. OECD aims to promote policies that would support governments’ work to foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability while taking into account environmental implications of economic and social development.

Singaporeans urged to invest in Philippine Franchise brands

PTIC-Singapore and the Association of Filipino Franchisers Incorporated (AFFI) recently reached out to the business community and Overseas Filipinos in Singapore to promote investments in Filipino franchise brands.

Armando Bartolome, franchise guru and incumbent chairman of (AFFI), spoke in a Singapore Business Federation seminar to introduce Filipino franchise brands seeking foreign partners. The featured Philippine franchisers were Colonial (Sili or Chili ice cream), Fiorgelato International, Nail It! Salon, Aquasuisse Parfums, Ferino’s Bibingka (rice cake), whose success potential investors can build upon.

Mr. Bartolome shared that the Philippines has the largest roster of franchisors in ASEAN with over 900 franchise concepts operating in the country. Sixty percent of the franchises are in the food sector and 30 percent are foreign brands. Annual industry growth for new franchisors is recorded at five percent.

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DTI sees challenges in making Philippines next innovation hub

MANILA, Philippines - A slew of challenges at the regulatory end continue to hound the development of startups in the country which the government plans to address soon in line with its goal of making the Philippines the next innovation hub in Asia, Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said

At the opening of Slingshot Philippines yesterday, Cristobal identified key factors needed to establish a favorable business environment for startups in the country – a number of which includes policy reforms.

“We may have to overhaul many of our policies, from the simple things like you cannot register your corporation unless you got five incorporators. That has to be changed. You must be able to register a corporation even if you are just a single person or innovator,” Cristobal said.

Aside from having responsive government policies, Cristobal said right infrastructure, adequate logistics, and strong educational and research institutions are also needed to support the development of local startups.

“These are the kind of changes we need and for most of these, government plays a big role,” the country’s trade and investment chief said.

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Philippines, Switzerland to hold 2nd JEC; strengthen economic relations

The Philippines and Switzerland are scheduled to hold the 2nd Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Meeting in Bern, Switzerland on 27-28 April 2016 to strengthen and move forward the two countries’ trade and investment relations.

“Pursuing an enhanced trade relationship with Switzerland is an important component of the government’s strategy to expand our country’s market access and increase investments,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr.

The PH-Swiss JEC serves as a platform for regular dialogue and exchanges between the two countries to discuss 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 PH-Switzerland JEC was ratified on 19 December 2013 while the 1st meeting of the commission was held in Manila in mid-2014. Cristobal will lead the Philippine delegation in the PH-Swiss JEC meeting to be held in the city of Bern on the last week of April 2016.

Cristobal said the 2nd JEC will focus 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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