THE Export Development Council (EDC) aims to improve local exporters’ ability to deal with non-tariff measures (NTMs), including sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS), fumigation testing, and labeling requirements.
The technical working group (TWG) on non-tariff measures has met to discuss ways to boost the export competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) stymied by the burdensome measures.
NTMs are policy measures other than customs tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, including price changes and volume of traded.
On the difficulty of exporters to comply with SPS because of high fumigation costs, the group pointed to the scarcity of fumigation firms in the Philippines as one of the reasons. In one region, for instance, a lone fumigation company serves the whole area’s needs, and the lack of competition allows it to monopolize business and impose high prices.
The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, which regulates fumigation operations, will be tasked to map all fumigation establishments, identify gaps and spread out their presence in the countryside.
The team intends to ask the government to fast-track negotiations on Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) such as the ongoing talks on food, cosmetics, and drugs within the Asean and ensure their effective implementation.
The TWG also called for more training and coaching sessions for MSMEs on product quality and certification requirements including on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food.