Business & Economy

Philippine-Malaysia trade prospers under AFTA

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The Philippines and Malaysia are enjoying the benefits of trade with lower tariffs through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) of which both are signatories.


With the free trade agreement (FTA), tariffs and other requirements of commerce that restrict trade between the two countries are reduced or eliminated.

To boost bilateral trade between them, the two countries have been conducting mutually beneficial activities, including trade meetings and information sessions for local exporters on both sides.

Just recently, the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in cooperation with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp. conducted an information session seeking to inform local exporters, manufacturers, government officials, members of the academe, and industry groups, about the benefits they can derive from the Philippines’ free trade agreements with its preferred trading partners, including Malaysia.

On May 21, 2013, the DTI through its “Doing Business in Free Trade Areas” outreach program conducted an information session at Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City for 100 participants composed of small and medium enterprises, exporters and manufacturers, local government officials, officials of local government agencies, and members of the academe.

Anthony Ballesteros Rivera, Marketing Manager of the Malaysian Embassy, said that Malaysia uses FTAs to boost its export performance as well its product interests, specific customs rules and regulations, packaging preferences, and trade policies vis-à-vis its trading partners.

The exchange of goods between the two countries is facilitated with mutually beneficial results from the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), a trade bloc agreement among ASEAN member countries. The Philippines exports semiconductor devices, electrical and electronic machinery, and machinery and mechanical appliances to Malaysia, while its main imports from Malaysia are petroleum and petroleum products.

According to the National Statistics Office, the Philippines exported a total of US$1.017 billion worth of goods to Malaysia in 2012, down by 7.38 percent from 2011’s $1.099 billion. To date, electronics remains its top export product.

In 2012 the Philippines imported $2.503 billion worth of goods from Malaysia, down by 5.17 percent from 2011’s $2.64 billion. Petroleum products remain its top import from Malaysia.

The Philippines have seven existing FTAs, namely AFTA, Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), Asean-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA), Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA) and the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement as its only bilateral agreement. (Manila Bulletin)

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