Press Release
March 23, 2018

Legarda Heads PHL Delegation to the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Climate Change, is the Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union from March 24-28, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Legarda will be joined by fellow legislators--Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Nancy Binay, Deputy House Speaker Raneo Abu, Deputy House Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

The agenda of the 138th Assembly of the IPU will cover key global issues such as strengthening the parliamentary contribution to the global compact for migration, sustaining peace as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development, tackling women's underrepresentation in politics, engaging the private sector in the development of renewable energy, and building sustainable and resilient societies.

As Head of the Philippine Delegation, Legarda will deliver a speech during the General Debate in Plenary Session: "Strengthening the Global Regime for Migrants and Refugees" on March 26.

Prior to that, she will participate in the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the panel discussion on "Why are women still underrepresented in politics? The root causes and how to address them."

"Through our participation in the 138th IPU Assembly, we aim to engage our fellow legislators from around the world on how to address issues that affect our respective nations and the international community as a whole, especially those in the agenda for this year's assembly such as sustainable and resilient development, stronger engagement of women in society and politics, and stronger policies for migrants and refugees. We want to get insights from other parliamentarians as well as share our best practices and model pieces of legislation to them," said Legarda.

On the sidelines of the IPU Assembly, Legarda will meet with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Robert Azevedo and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Deputy Secretary General Martin Zbinden to submit a notification on the Philippines' ratification of the PH-EFTA Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The PH-EFTA FTA was ratified by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 8, 2017. The Philippine Senate, through the sponsorship of Legarda as Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, concurred in the President's ratification on March 5, 2018.

As a broad-based agreement, the FTA covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition, the protection of intellectual property rights, government procurement, and trade and sustainable development.

With the entry into force of the Agreement, the EFTA States will abolish all customs duties on imports of industrial products, including fish and other marine products, originating in the Philippines. The Philippines will gradually eliminate customs duties on industrial products, including fish and other marine products, originating in an EFTA State.

The Agreement contains detailed provisions on trade, including some "WTO +" provisions.

"Opening markets through Agreements such as this goes hand-in-hand with all the economic reforms and ease of doing business initiatives of the government to project a clear message that the Philippines is, more than ever, ready and 'open for business'," said Legarda.

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