It is wise for European countries to look to Southeast Asia and the whole of Asia for partnership because of the opportunities and exciting developments in the region, particularly as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, President Ferdinand R. Marcos said on Wednesday.

“I think it is actually wise in terms of European countries, Switzerland included, to look to ASEAN, to look to Asia. Although there are other geopolitical disturbances, shall we say, but the opportunities are quite exciting,” President Marcos said in welcoming in Malacañang Nicolas Brühl, the resident Ambassador-designate of the Swiss Confederation.

“ASEAN leaders have come together to really strengthen the economic systems that we have in place, the weaknesses that have shown up during the pandemic. We’re all trying to learn the lessons that the pandemic brought with it.”

The President, who accepted the credentials of the Swiss envoy, said that he thinks the post-pandemic scenario presents a great opportunity for greater collaboration with the Philippines now understanding how the world works. 

The world doesn’t work the same way that it did in 2019 and it is faring differently, Marcos said.

“And so that’s why I always value partnerships and alliances and agreements between countries. And I think… [with] Switzerland that has always gone very smoothly. Let’s hope that it continues in that direction,” Marcos told the Swiss ambassador.

Brühl agreed with the President, saying the good thing is Asian economy is recovering well compared to other parts of the world. 

According to the Swiss ambassador, beginning of this year, Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Southeast Asia strategy proves that the region is of utmost importance and vowed to partner with it in the future.

Last year’s 65th year celebration of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Switzerland is already a good start, he said.  The two countries celebrated 65 years of diplomatic relations in January 2022.

The Philippines and Switzerland continue to maximize the benefits of the Philippines–European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (PH-EFTA-FTA). 

The EFTA States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Philippines in Bern, Switzerland on April 28, 2016. 

The EFTA-Philippines FTA entered into force on June 1, 2018, for the Philippines, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland and on January 1, 2020 for Iceland. 
The FTA covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition, the protection of intellectual property rights, government procurement, and trade and sustainable development. | PND

 Photo Courtesy by Yummie Dingding/PPA Pool