THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is accelerating initiatives on awareness and promoting proper understanding of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and the country’s various free trade agreements (FTAs).
“We are increasing the frequency of our information and education drive and casting a wider net by continuing to conduct various fora and discussions in the regions. The knowledge our stakeholders, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs], will gain from our initiatives and help us fully utilize our trade engagements and enhance our foothold in the regional and global market,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.
The DTI has been working with business organizations to provide entrepreneurs with knowledge on how to navigate and profit from the country’s FTAs through its Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) initiative.
The initiative aims to increase the utilization of FTAs, and covers discussions on market opportunities, tariff reductions, rules of origin, and customs procedures.
The awareness campaign will contribute to achieving industry competitiveness and sustaining inclusive growth.
“It is imperative for our stakeholders to be aware, involved, and globally competitive. Our aim is not just to reduce trepidation among our industry sectors, but also to enable them to participate more actively in international trade,” he said.
From November 2010 to July 2016, the DTI conducted 964 information sessions attended by more than 100,000 participants from the private sector, academe, and other government agencies. The sessions focused on topics such as FTA, AEC, Philippine-European Free Trade Association (EFTA, European Union General System of Preferences Plus (EU-GSP+), and the United States Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
Also, DTI conducts One Country, One Voice (OCOV), a trade policy consultation initiative across the country which engages and involves stakeholders, particularly national agencies, local governments, business support organizations, civil society organizations, and the private sector in the process of trade policy formulation.
To date, consultations were conducted in key cities in the country particularly on the trade engagements with Japan, EU, and EFTA.
“Ultimately, our work to promote awareness will enhance and intensify the Philippines as a global brand that thrives both here and the global market,” said Lopez.