MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has urged local manufacturers to further improve the quality of goods they produce in order to tap opportunities in the export markets.
With the growing free trade agreements (FTAs) and tariff liberalization in the global market which lower prices of goods, Philippine products should stand out with its quality.
“With the decrease in tariffs of most traded products, competition is no longer limited to who can offer the lowest price but who can conform or surpass the standards of international markets as well,” said DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Agnes Legaspi.
Legaspi mentioned markets where Philippine goods have competitive prices due to FTAs such as ASEAN member nations, Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Through these FTAs, most of Philippine products entering these markets have zero tariff rates. In return, goods from these countries likewise have competitive prices in the Philippine market.
On the other hand, the European Union (EU), United States, and Canada also give duty-free access to Philippine goods through a generalized scheme of preferences (GSP).
“As tariffs go down, we need to work more closely with Philippine businesses to help them navigate the rules of origin requirements and to hurdle other barriers, for instance product standards,” DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said.
The DTI will continue to conduct Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) this year to educate micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of the opportunities in the offshore market and how to make Philippine products more competitive.
“This seminar is for exporters to fully appreciate the current FTAs and opportunities that we have and to explore these markets. EMB would be happy to help them access the rules of origin and other market regulations,” Legaspi mentioned.
Aside from DBFTA, the government eyes to establish a strong National Quality Infrastructure (NQI); institutionalize a supply chain group focusing on key and emerging export sectors to accelerate export development; strengthen government training centers to ensure matching of available skills and industry requirements; encourage the private sector to establish industry-led testing centers and skills development and training centers that will cater to the operational requirements of export-oriented firms; and broaden access of domestic producers to technologies and innovations, particularly those emerging from government programs and initiatives such as those of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Earlier this month, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017 containing targets and strategies for the development and growth of the export industry.
PEDP plays a significant part of the International Trade Strategy of the Philippine Development Plan, a comprehensive economic and social development program to achieve inclusive growth and alleviate poverty.