Swiss firms cited easy business conditions in PHL — minister

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SWISS companies now see the Philippines as an attractive investment destination due to the improved business environment compared to previous years, Switzerland’s Foreign Minister said in Manila on Thursday.

“There is a growing interest by Swiss companies investing in this country, with the free trade agreement between the European Trade Association (consisting of) Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein, and (the Philippines),” Swiss Federal Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis said during a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo.

“Doing business between the Philippines and Switzerland has become easier and more attractive than earlier.”

He said that more about 28,000 jobs with decent salaries have been created through recent Swiss-Philippine business deals.

In January 2023, the Philippines bagged $24.7 million in initial investment commitments from Swiss firms during a roadshow on the sidelines of the Philippines-EFTA and the 5th Philippines-Switzerland Joint Economic Committee meetings in Switzerland.

Swiss companies engaged in metal processing and optical security were among those that expressed interest in doing business in the Philippines during the roadshow.

“We have a multi-faceted appreciation for the Philippine-Swiss relations, spanning political, economic and people-to-people connections,” Mr. Manalo said at the bilateral meeting.

More than 15,000 Filipinos live and work in Switzerland, while 4,000 Swiss nationals live in the Philippines, he said.

According to the Board of Investments, Switzerland was the Philippines’ 26th largest trading partner in 2021, 17th largest export market, and 29th largest source of imports.

Philippine exports to Switzerland rose 17.3% to $528.2 million in 2021.

“Indeed, the strongest ties that bind the Philippines and Switzerland are the various individuals and families who personify Philippine-Swiss connections,” the Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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