Ease of Doing Business Bill passed on Senate 3rd Reading

The Senate passed on third reading the Senate Bill 1311 or the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act of 2017 which seeks to establish a national policy of ease of doing business, creating for the purpose the Ease of Doing Business Commission. The bill was sponsored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

The bill sets a new prescribed processing period under which both national and local government offices will have to process the application and communicate the decision regarding the status of the application. This period will not be longer than three (3) working days for simple transactions and seven (7) working days for complex transactions from the time the application was received. For highly technical applications, the bill prescribes a maximum processing time of thirty (30) working days.

To ensure the attainment of the objective of this Act, an Ease of Doing Business Commission will be created. The Commission shall be the policy-making body on business registration and regulatory management and shall set the overall direction for the implementation of the National Policy on Ease of Doing Business.

Likewise, the House Committee on Trade and Industry recently approved the same version of the aforesaid bill. The House of Representatives is targeting to pass the measure before its Session break on 14 October 2017. The EODB Act is certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte. –Ma. Divine Grace T. Derez

DTI conducts a Roadshow to Seamless Philippine Logistics

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Competitiveness Bureau conducts a Roadshow to Seamless Philippine Logistics: Analysis of Logistics Performance to present the results of the survey completed last June 2017.

Logistics Efficiency Indicators (LEI) Assessment Project was launched by The Department of Trade and Industry’s Competitiveness Bureau, in partnership with the World Bank-International Finance Corporation (WB-IFC), the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Export Development Council (EDC).

The LEI Project is designed to develop measurement and baseline assessment of Philippine logistics cost, time efficiency and reliability of transporting goods/cargoes and services, which is critical for a meaningful policy formulation for the logistics and supply chain management sectors.

Results of the survey will be used in the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) by World Bank. LPI is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve it.

DTI also invited their partners to present the current projects and advocacies that will highlight the government and private sector’s initiatives to improve the country’s overall logistics capability.

The roadshow was held in Puerto Princesa and La Union last September. More sessions will be held in Bacolod, Tuguegarao, Tacloban, Tagaytay and Bataan in October & November. Traders, especially exporters who want to participate may contact the DTI-SCLMD at +632 899 6247 or email at: sclm@dti.gov.ph / dti.sclmd@gmail.com. –Maria Jobellieza A. Alzate

Mindanao and Cebu exporters input to PEDP 2018-2022

Mindanao and Cebu exporters provided inputs to the next Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022

The exporters underscored the need to increase government budget to finance exporters’ participation in international trade fairs and have bigger and more presentable Philippine booths to be at par with exporters of other ASEAN countries.

They also requested to intensify government information dissemination programs to communicate new and repealed regulations to prevent confusion among government officials and exporters regarding export clearances.

They also need information on potential local suppliers. DTI encouraged exporters to always visit the DTI website (http://www.tradelinephilippines.dti.gov.ph/), specifically Tradeline Philippines which contains trade data and a facility to match would-be and existing exporters with potential foreign buyers and local suppliers.

Other recommendations include Filipino product branding, lowering of logistics and power costs, addressing the issue on the overlapping of regulations and automating government transactions.

These inputs were gathered during the recent Focus Group Discussions (FGD) for the PEDP 2018-2022 in Cebu and Davao attended by various sectors from handicraft, shell, agrimarine products, food, banana, cacao, furniture, lifestyle products and activated carbon. The next FGD will be conducted with the services sector specifically IT-BPM, audiovisual, animation, franchising and retailing and tourism and travel-related services. –Asnia R. Bayao

Factoring and Crowdsourcing your way to Financing

To address the need of the export sector for innovative financing options, factoring and crowdsourcing platforms were introduced in a seminar conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry- Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), in collaboration with the Export Development Council and PHILEXPORT under the Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP).

Factoring is a financial transaction and a type of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivables, i.e., invoices to a third party (called a factor) at a discount. Factoring is not the same as invoice discounting. Factoring is the sale of receivables, whereas invoice discounting is a borrowing that involves the use of accounts receivable assets as collateral for the loan. Export factoring on the other hand, is a package that encompasses credit protection, export working capital financing, foreign accounts receivable bookkeeping and collection services. The financier (factor, which usually are the banks) will purchase accounts receivable of invoices, which are raised once the seller (exporter) ships the goods to the buyer. Factoring was discussed by Mr. Etienne Von de Bogaert of the Eurofin Asia Group Pte Ltd., a company based in Singapore.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet. Crowdfunding offers a chance of success for MSMEs by showcasing their businesses and projects to the entire world. Crowdsourcing was discussed by Mr. Edison Tsai of New Union.

DTI-EMB regularly conducts these information sessions through its Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP)featuring current concerns of exporters. For more details and updates on topics, contact DTI-EMB at telephone number 465-3300 loc. 109 or email to exponent@dti.gov.ph.-Grace T. Mirasol

National Education Forum strengthens industry-academe-government ties

Strengthening Industry – Government-Academe Linkage towards Sustainable and Innovative Growth (SIGASIG) was this year’s theme for the 7th National Education Forum. TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong said that it was high time for the industry, government and academe to collaborate and work together as growth and economic accelerators in the country. He noted that by working together and in harmony, the country will be able to achieve global competitiveness. He said that TESDA will endeavour on Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for global competitiveness. He added that his agency is closely collaborating with the various industries to develop and promulgate skills they required.

On the other hand, Asst. Secretary Amuerfina Reyes informed that human capital development is integral to economic growth and development and that human capital accumulation through education and training promotes economic growth by enhancing labor productivity and by fostering technological innovation and adaptation.

This was confirmed by Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., when he said “we are in an age where sustained competitiveness in the global economy will depend on the technological or innovation-based strengths, including the development of new products, applying new technology, incorporating best practices in the management of enterprises and developing skill levels across the full spectrum of the labor force, the academe has become a critical “stakeholder” to business bringing with it valuable resources to the table.”

The forum was organized in collaboration with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Education Committee and the Export Development Council-Networking Committee on Human Resource Development (EDC-NCHRD).-Grace T. Mirasol

DTI-EMB gears up for PEDP 2018-2022

The Depart-ment of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) is crafting the new Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) for 2018-2022.

The PEDP 2018-2022 will be anchored on the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, the 10-point socio economic agenda of the President and the existing PEDP 2015-2017. New export strategies and programs to boost export performance will also be adopted to achieve the export target of $122B-130B by the end of the term.

Essential to the development and crafting of the PEDP is the effective consultation among the stakeholders. Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) commenced last 25 August 2017 in the National Capital Region. The next FGDs will be in Cebu on 27 September 2017 and Davao on 29 September 2017.-Piercy Kieth Cezar

EDC revises Vision and Mission

The Export Development Council (EDC) issued Resolution No. 04, series of 2017 adopting the revised EDC Vision which envisions “Philippines as a a competitive, intelligent, and innovation-driven exporting nation”. To reach this vision, the EDC adjusted its mission to “Nurturing an environment for exporters to thrive, enabling them to contribute to inclusive, sustainable, and equitable growth”.

The resolution also includes the adoption of EDC core values which are: trailblazing, an innovative key player in the export arena; collaborative, as a public-private partnership, consultation among relevant stakeholders is observed; and resolute which signifies EDC’s strong determination to achieve its goals.

As a response to the strategic external trade policy regime emphasized in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, EDC looked to develop the abilities of Philippine enterprises to efficiently compete in the global markets through engaging in policy reforms for trade facilitation and ease of doing business. The vision, mission, and core values serve as a framework on how the different government programs, activities and projects (PAPs) will be aligned with the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022. -Ma. Divine Grace T. Derez

DTI-DOLE issues Joint Order on guidelines for garment industry availing GSP

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently signed Joint Department Order No. 01 of 2017 which sets guidelines in the issuance, suspension or revocation of certificates of accreditation to garment manufacturers, exporters and sub-contractors who would want to avail preferential tariff under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The said DO also creates a Workers’ Rights Review Committee.

The DTI- Accrediting Board through the Board of Investments- Incentives Administration Service shall issue the Certificate of Accreditation provided that the applicant complies with the prescribed labor standards. The accreditation shall be mandatory and has a validity period of three (3) years from its issuance. An applicant whose accreditation is suspended may request to lift the suspension after three (3) months. Accreditation that had been revoked may reapply after six (6) months.

The Workers’ Rights Review Committee will be chaired by DOLE. The Committee shall conduct an audit of the applicant’s compliance with labor standards.- Ma. Divine Grace T. Derez

Revised Application Form for Travel Tax Exemption to be implemented in September 2017

Exporters are advised to use the new Travel Tax Exemption Form starting September 2017. Said form can be downloaded at www.edc.net.ph/travel-tax-exemption

The Technical Working Group of Executive Order (EO) 589, recently approved the new Travel Tax Exemption Application Form. An additional feature will help exporters to find new buyers through the online business matching system of the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau. Exporters are encouraged to register/ update their company profile thru http://businessmatching.dti.gov.ph, for real time online business matching of exporters with foreign buyers.

EO 589 Exempts Exporters from paying the travel tax when joining international trade fairs, exhibitions, selling missions, conferences, among others. For queries, please contact Ms. Mafe Largo through telephone no. 465.3300 local 303 or email at exportdevelopmentcouncil@edc.net.ph. – Marife G. Largo

Innovation Council of DOST gears up innovation programs

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has transformed its Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) to be the Innovation Council.

One initiative of the Innovation Council is the Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) Support Program that aims to improve their productivity and competitiveness through consultations and trainings.

The Council is also developing a new program for startups. It has called for Proposals for Startups Research Grant. The proposals should be geared towards translating early stage technologies into market ready products to overcome R&D roadblocks, strengthen intellectual property, establish initial market traction and to refine business model.

The Council is also eyeing proposals that will provide funding support to graduate students and faculty members who will conduct research projects directed towards developing emerging technologies and exploring innovations in the areas of materials research, electronics, and applied physics.

For other programs and further details, visit the DOST-PCIEERD website at http://pcieerd.dost.gov.ph/ – Piercy Kieth Cezar