New Zealand Embassy Manila, The Philippines

New Zealand and Philippines launch free trade agreement

The benefits for Philippine businesses and consumers of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) were outlined during two events held on 10 February.

Media representatives were invited to the Bureau of Customs for a launch that included a demonstration of the AANZFTA’s procedures.  Over 200 business people attended a DTI-led briefing at the Philippine Trade Training Centre on the agreement and the opportunities it has opened up.

The AANZFTA was signed by New Zealand, Australia and all 10 ASEAN countries in early 2009 and came into effect for most of them, including the Philippines, on 1 January 2010.

As negotiated under the agreement, New Zealand will remove all tariffs on products imported from the Philippines by 2020, with around 80% of current trade being duty-free since 1 January.  Around 75% of New Zealand’s exports to the Philippines are now also duty-free. 

The comprehensive agreement also covers a wide range of other areas, such as service exports, investment and business mobility. 

New Zealand ambassador Andrew Matheson said New Zealand’s experience with FTAs was that they invigorated the trading relationship, and often coincided with increased levels of trade. 

“Only some of that increase can be put down to the agreement itself.  Some of it also comes from the increased profile given to the relationship, and exporters in both countries focusing on the opportunities in the relevant markets — what’s called a ‘head-turning effect,’ ” he said.

“I appreciate the work of Philippine trade negotiators for bringing this work to a satisfactory outcome, and for Philippine trade facilitation agencies, principally the Bureau of Customs, for helping the benefits to flow through to Philippine businesses and consumers,”  said Ambassador Matheson.

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