Looking back at the Embassy’s cooperation with the PSBC in 2014, it’s clear to see that the Council’s achievements and its cooperation with the Embassy continue to be impressive.
In the aftermath of Yolanda we had the opportunity to intensify our relations with Aid Line Philippine-Swiss ALPS, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Philippine-Swiss business, and saw the dedication and the tremendous impact of ALPS’ work to help the victims of this tragedy.
2014 was also a year of remarkable achievements in the economic and business relations. The first Joint Economic Commission meeting between Switzerland and the Philippines was held in Manila on July 14. The PSBC’s active support in the preparation and undertaking of the Commission’s deliberations greatly contributed to the success of this meeting.
We also pulled our efforts together to co-organize the visit of the Swiss Asia Chamber of Commerce SACC business delegation in November. I am convinced that the successful realization of the mission will open the doors for more Swiss companies to do business in or with the Philippines. Moreover, it was another testimony to the PSBC’s and in particular Chair Rosario Cajucom-Bradbury’s effectiveness in promoting the Philippine-Swiss bilateral relations.
2014 was also a year of laying down the foundations for the negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Area EFTA, comprising Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. In June, the EFTA Council of Ministers and DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo signed a Joint Agreement on Cooperation as the basis for the negotiations.