The provisions on the protection of intellectual property rights (Chapter 8 and Annex XVIII) concern, inter alia, trademarks, copyrights, patents and geographical indications and contain provisions on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and cooperation between the Parties. These provisions are based on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and provide for a high level of protection, taking into account the principles of most-favoured-nation and national treatment. A sustainability assessment was carried out in support of the negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the Philippines. The ISS aims to assess how the trade and trade-related provisions of a future free trade agreement could potentially affect the economic, social, human rights and environmental elements in each trading partner and in other relevant countries. Ensuring better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is a priority for the EU. Negotiations on a TRADE and Investment Agreement between the REGIONS between the EU and ASEAN started in 2007 and were interrupted by mutual agreement in 2009 to make way for a bilateral negotiating format. Describes the trade agreements in which this country is involved. Provides resources for U.S. companies to obtain information on the use of these agreements. The Philippines has free trade agreements with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand within the framework of ASEAN. Visit www.dti.gov.ph/15-main-content/dummy-article/682-free-trade-agreements and tariffcommission.gov.ph/finder/ for a list of Philippine trade agreements and corresponding customs plans and commitments.
Other trade-related information is also available on the Philippines National Exchange Country Repository website pntr.gov.ph/. Contact details: Atty. Ann Claire C. CabochanDirector Office of International Trade RelationsDepartment of Trade and Industry 4F DTI International Building, 375 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati CityTel. : (632) 465-3355; 465-3300 Email: AnnClaireCabochan@dti.gov.ph The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will enter into force for Switzerland and the Philippines on June 1, 2018. In March this year, the Philippine Senate ratified the free trade agreement with EFTA as part of the country`s strategy to gain a stronger foothold in the European market. EFTA is made up of some of the richest countries in the world – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Once implemented, the agreement will be the Philippines` second bilateral free trade agreement after the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in 2008.
The Agreement also provides for tariff concessions for both basic agricultural products and processed agricultural products covered by bilateral Annexes VIII to X to the Agreement. Specific provisions to facilitate trade in fish and other marine products are set out in a separate annex to the chapter on trade in goods (Annex V). Provisions to eliminate export duties are included in the agreement, but the Philippines has retained the possibility of such duties on roundwood in accordance with Annex IV. The 2010 ASEAN Merchandise Trade Agreement (ATIGA) bound all obligations related to trade in goods. The aim is to create an internal market and production base with the free movement of goods in the ASEAN region, an important part of the ASEAN Economic Community (ACS). ATIGA includes tariff liberalization, trade facilitation initiatives, simplification of rules of origin and the creation of an ASEAN trade repository. Visit investasean.asean.org/ for updates on ASEAN trade. In addition, in recent years, the Philippines has taken a number of market-opening measures in various industries, improved intellectual property protection and enforcement, and launched a public debate on reforming the country`s constitution to allow for increased foreign investment in certain sectors. The previous Philippine administration, under Aquino`s presidency, had publicly expressed interest in joining the TPP and, with the support of the U.S. House and USAID, had prepared a readiness assessment that identified areas where further reforms would be needed if Manila joined the agreement.
Manila seems well prepared for such a negotiation. The agreement contains detailed provisions on trade facilitation (Annex VI), including certain “WTO plus” provisions. Those provisions open, inter alia, preliminary rulings and restrict the possibility of new fees and charges. The Philippines has been a member of the WTO since 1995 and benefits from enhanced trade preferences with the EU under the EU`s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+). Asian governments, however, have taken a cautious approach to possible trade negotiations with the Trump administration. The U.S. withdrawal from the TPP, threats to withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and a series of heterodox proposals in NAFTA negotiations have made foreign governments wary of entering into negotiations with Washington. Chapter 12 establishes a joint committee to monitor and administer the Agreement and to monitor its future development.
The Joint Committee, which normally meets every two years, may amend the Agreement in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement or examine and propose amendments. The Philippines is currently our 31st largest merchandise trading partner with a total volume of US$21.4 billion (bidirectional) of merchandise trade in 2019. Exports of goods totalled $8.6 billion; Imports of goods totalled $12.8 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with the Philippines was $4.1 billion in 2019. In the short term, this is the only trade initiative to open up U.S. markets in Asia. The EFTA States Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Philippines on 28 April 2016 in Bern, Switzerland. The Free Trade Agreement between EFTA and the Philippines entered into force on 1 June 2018 for the Philippines, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and on 1 January 2020 for Iceland.
Due to outstanding internal issues, the Philippine customs authorities were unable to apply the customs obligations under the Agreement when the EFTA-Philippines Free Trade Agreement entered into force. On 10 December 2018, the Philippines confirmed that its internal procedures had been completed and that the EFTA-Philippines Free Trade Agreement had been fully implemented since 24 October 2018. As a broad-based agreement, the free trade agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition, protection of intellectual property rights, government procurement, trade and sustainable development. In the area of trade in goods, EFTA will eliminate all tariffs on industrial products from the entry into force of the agreement, while the Philippines will reduce or phase out tariffs on the vast majority of these products. The Investment Chapter (Chapter 7) sets out the obligation for Parties to authorize investments by other Parties in accordance with their laws and regulations. It also expresses the Parties` ambition to provide stable, non-discriminatory and transparent investment conditions for investors from other Parties and stresses the importance of investment promotion. In addition, the Parties recognise that it is not appropriate to encourage investment by relaxing health, safety and environmental standards. .