MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino and Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf discussed intensifying trade relations between the Philippines and Switzerland during the two leaders’ bilateral talks held at the sidelines of 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.
Aquino and Schlumpf agreed to convene the Philippines-Switzerland Joint Economic Commission — a consultation mechanism to facilitate bilateral discussions on trade and investment cooperation. They also discussed Switzerland’s proposal for a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area and affirmed the potential and viability of such a mechanism to enhance economic relations between the Philippines and the Efta countries – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway.
The DFA said Aquino expressed his appreciation for the continued confidence exuded by Swiss companies in the Philippines as seen in the recent expansion of Nestlé, which infused P4.9 billion worth of investments for its new factory in Tanauan, Batangas, and the robust performance of Holcim and other Swiss companies in the Philippines.
There are more than 60 Swiss companies in the Philippines whose operations translate to roughly 12,000 jobs for Filipinos around the country.
Switzerland is participating in the ASEM leaders’ summit for the first time this year.