Govt moves to reduce trade barriers

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THE government is taking steps to reduce bureaucratic measures and regulations—also known as non-tariff measures (NTMs)—that serve as barriers to Philippine trade.

In a statement, Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is now pushing for “legislative priorities” in the 17th Congress to address the roadblocks, especially in the transport and logistics sector, to make local exporters more globally competitive.

These include the amendment of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Charter in order to separate the regulatory and operator functions of both agencies.

There is also a proposal to repeal the Presidential Decree (PD) 1221 that requires mandatory dry-docking in MARINA (Maritime Industry Authority) registered shipyards.


“We will be in constant dialogue with other government agencies … to further simplify their respective procedures and face up the challenge of synchronizing programs, activities, and projects conducive for trade,” Terrado said.

“For the past six months, we have been active in addressing exporters’ concern specifically to shorten the processing time and administrative requirements,” Terrado added.

A recent survey conducted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with the DTI showed that 70 percent of exporters and importers are suffering from some of the burdensome regulations or NTMs in the Philippines.

Terrado said that as part of the initiatives in Strategy No. 2 of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017, the Export Development Council (EDC), the DTI, and its unit Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) are currently initiating action plans that aim to ease the regulatory processes for exporters.

Approved in February this year, PEDP 2015-2017 is the export industry’s roadmap detailing the current state, issues to be addressed, solutions, and targets of the sector.
Strategy No. 2 seeks to remove domestic regulations “that unnecessarily raise the costs of production and market delivery.”

If all the strategies are executed properly, the PEDP 2015-2017 expects the Philippine export sector to expand to a $100-billion industry by end-2017, growing by 6.6 percent to 8.8 percent this year and 7.7 percent to 10.6 percent next year after declining by 1.2 percent in 2015.

These growth targets translate to additional export revenues of $5.2 billion to $8.8 billion in 2016, and $8.5 billion to $15.5 billion in 2017.

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