News


Exporters invited to the National Export Congress 2014

November 12, 2014

Direct and indirect exporters, SMEs, academe, and government agencies as well as international organizations are invited to the National Export Congress 2014 on December 5, 2014, 8AM to 4PM, at the Reception Hall, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The Congress is the highlight of the National Exporters' Week on December 1-7, 2014. This year's theme is "Integrating SMEs to Global Value Chains" The event aims to inspire exporters, specifically direct and indirect SME exporters to participate in the global value chains offered by the ASEAN Economic Integration and other regional cooperations and free trade agreements. It will also harness individual strengths of firms, share best practices, and synchronize policy reforms that can enhance SMEs' ability to gain greater participation in the global production network.

Several activities in NCR include the Exporter's Bazaar at the DTI International building, and Usapang Exports' series of seminars. For more details please visit this link Exporters Week 2014

Also, Regional Offices of the DTI, PHILEXPORT and some universities will also celebrate, and are encouraged to conduct activities in line with this year's theme.

Exporters’ “seagrass” not prohibited under FAO No. 250

November 12, 2014

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) clarified that the seagrass being used for handicrafts being exported is not the subject of the FAO No. 250. Said order prohibits the collection, harvesting, gathering, selling, and/or exporting of Brown Algae (Sargassum spp.), and Seagrass. Both agencies identified the samples and description presented by the Export Development Council, Export Marketing Bureau, and exporters as Rhynchospora corymbosa (Common name: Matamat, Golden Beaksedge),Actinoscirpu grossus (Common name: Giant bulrush, Greater club-rush), and Typhaorientalis (Common name: Bullrush, Lampakanay) as not banned for export.

The BFAR & NFRDI letters can be read at click here

PCCI resolutions to benefit exporters

November 12, 2014

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) submitted to President Aquino, eight (8) resolutions that will help sustain the country’s growth and competitiveness.

Four of these resolutions such as energy, education, port congestion, and agriculture will help improve the competitiveness of Filipino exporters.

On energy and power, PCCI urges the National Government to formulate an integrated and sustainable energy and power development roadmap with a clear, definite target level of power supply capacity and rate; doable and time-bound strategies to achieve the desired goal; and premised on the goal to revitalize manufacturing, attract more quality foreign investments and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.

On Education and Human Resource Development, the business community and government should support the implementation of the Philippine Qualification Framework (PQF) and the ASEAN Qualifications Framework for global competitiveness.

On Port Congestion, focus all future port developments in Subic and Batangas.

On Agriculture, urge the National government to hasten the Agri-mechanization and modernization to be at par with other ASEAN countries.

In all of these endeavours, the business chambers, associations and enterprises are urged to enter into partnerships with government to hasten economic and inclusive growth in the country.

PBC urges government to prepare SMES for ASEAN integration

November 12, 2014

In the recently concluded 40th Philippine Business Conference (PBC), the government was urged to draw strategies and programs that will promote and support the integration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the global and regional value chains. They also urged both the government & private sector to come up with a clear program on the promotion and security of Philippine brands; and to improve the physical connectivity of Mindanao to BIMP-EAGA and the rest of the ASEAN.

On the other hand, the business community was encouraged under the Proudly Philippine Made banner, to work with the government in providing SMEs with access to technology, common service facilities, financing and other support to infuse not only a competitiveness mind-set among them but to provide them with sustenance to help them find more niches for their further participation in the value and supply chains and their participation in the ASEAN Integration in 2015.

Bitung Port authorizes entry of goods

October 07, 2014

The Indonesian Ministry of Trade authorized the entry of food and beverages; electronics and garments to Bitung Port. These products used to be in the negative list of imports into Indonesia. Bitung Port is part of the ASEAN connectivity to promote investments, tourism and trade relations between the Philippines and Indonesia, another cooperation under the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. This information is relayed recently by the Philippine Consulate General in Manado City.

Exporters of the said sectors may take this opportunity to explore new business partners in Indonesia.

Steam activated carbon not hazardous, hence a regular cargo

October 07, 2014

The Export Development Council conducted an industry briefing on activated carbon last September 16, 2014 to address the existing restriction and prohibition to load “Steam Activated Carbon” in most shipping and feeder vessels since it is alleged to be inflammable and therefore considered as hazardous material. Shipping cost of hazardous materials is 30% higher than regular cargoes.

Mr. Bonifacio Fernandez, a representative from the activated carbon industry said that “Steam Activated Carbon” is a porous carbonaceous substance manufactured by means of heating granulated charcoal about at 1000°C with the presence of steam inside a rotary kiln. This process makes the steam activated carbon incombustible.

Now that the shipping lines are aware of the qualities of steam activated carbon, Mr. Fernandez suggests that the shipping lines should ensure that there will be no misdeclaration of goods making sure that the cargo is not raw nor granulated charcoal.

Atty. Max Cruz of the Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. invited Mr. Fernandez to discuss the issue during their board meeting on November 5, 2014, to brief other shipping line representatives.

WTC to host conference on Markets of the World: ASEAN and ASEAN-AFTA

October 07, 2014

The World Trade Center is hosting again the Markets of the World Conference on October 14, 2014 at Function Rooms 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center Metro Manila. The conference will feature the ASEAN and ASEAN-FTA partner countries and the Philippines’ key partners in Middle East.

This event will be beneficial to exporters in preparation for the ASEAN Integration in 2015. Exporters and the business community are invited to attend the said conference.

For more information, please call Ms. Mary Grace “GI” De Guzman of the World Trade Center Metro Manila at telephone no. 902-0000 ext. 213 or email mideguzman@wtcmanila.com.ph.

DTI Keen on boosting the manufacturing sector

October 07, 2014

The recently concluded Philippine Economic Briefing highlighted the government’s goal of sustainability through the following: (1) infrastructure investments; (2) development plan for small & medium enterprises (SMEs) and the manufacturing sector; and (3) priority bills and additional reform agenda for the next two years.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said that the government is keen on helping further boost the manufacturing sector of the country, which accounted for 2.3 million jobs as of last year or up by 1.5% from the previous year. He also reported that the average growth of the manufacturing sector accelerated from 2.4% in 2005-2009 to 7.9% in 2010-2013. This growth accelerated further in the first half of 2014 to 8.8%.

Cristobal said that with the continuation of government finance programs and technical assistance, the manufacturing sector is expected to generate more jobs in the near future.

Manila lifts truck ban indefinitely

October 07, 2014

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has lifted the truck ban in the city indefinitely to help ease congestion in the ports effective September 13, 2014.

Estrada issued Executive Order 67, ordering the immediate lifting of the truck ban in the city to give way to the efforts of the national government to address port congestion. The EO further instructed all departments and offices in the City of Manila, including the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau, the Manila Police District and the Department of Engineering and Public Works to extend full support and assistance to concerned national government offices and agencies.

The Cabinet Cluster on Port Congestion estimates that by the end of September, utilization of the Ports of Manila has lowered to 85%.

Palace approves lower port fees in Batangas to decongest Manila ports

September 08, 2014

The Office of the President has approved the reduction of port charges and other vessel-handling related services such as Dockage-at-berth fees at the Port of Batangas. This move aims to attract more shipping lines and port users to utilize the Batangas International Port as well as to decongestion Manila Port.

Shipping lines calling at Batangas International Port can enjoy a 90% discount on Port Dues from the existing fee of $0.081 per gross revenue ton (GRT) per day to only $0.0081 per GRT per day as well as a 90% cut in Dockage-at-berth from $0.039 per GRT to only $0.039 per GRT per day. The new rate is applicable for six months. The discount for the succeeding six months will be reduced to 50% for both or from $0.081 GRT per day to $0.040 per GRT per day and from $0.039 per GRT to $0.020 per GRT per day.

Fair competition act enters the period of interpellation in the senate

September 08, 2014

Senator Bam Aquino, Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, delivered his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014 as the bill entered the period of interpellation.

Sen. Aquino pointed out the many advantages of having a Competition Law which include the development of better products and services through innovation, increasing product efficiency and improving supply chain management as well providing more choices for consumers at competitive prices. He also mentioned that together with the recently passed GoNegosyo Law, the Competition Act will encourage more and more Filipinos to put up their own businesses which will in turn help drive inclusive growth.

In the House of Representative, the consolidated bill of all the various House bills regarding the Competition Act is still awaiting Committee Approval. The Export Development Council will continue its ardent support for the passage of this bill.

Industry-Academe partnership to strengthen human resource development

September 08, 2014

The recent 4th National Education Forum (NEF) led to a common understanding that a well-institutionalized industry-academe partnership can play a major role in improving the Philippines' greatest asset – human resources, therefore, helping advance PH global competitiveness.

2014 NEF Chair, Dr. Eduardo Ong stated that “responding to the global realities and domestic demands requires a balance between what is demanded by the labor market and what is being supplied by the education and training sector”. Globalization includes among others, freer and borderless movement of capital goods, services, technology, information and human resources between and among countries. Thus, the rapid change in information and communication technology directly impacts on the way work is being organized and executed.

He added that these are all happening now as the government made its move by reshaping the education system through the K to 12. This new educational system emphasizes academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude to create a versatile workforce for the industry and to ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-academe cooperation.

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on HRD collaborated with PCCI and the Philippine Council of Deans for Business Educators in organizing the 4th NEF.

Industry-Academe partnership to strengthen human resource development

September 08, 2014

The recent 4th National Education Forum (NEF) led to a common understanding that a well-institutionalized industry-academe partnership can play a major role in improving the Philippines' greatest asset – human resources, therefore, helping advance PH global competitiveness.

2014 NEF Chair, Dr. Eduardo Ong stated that “responding to the global realities and domestic demands requires a balance between what is demanded by the labor market and what is being supplied by the education and training sector”. Globalization includes among others, freer and borderless movement of capital goods, services, technology, information and human resources between and among countries. Thus, the rapid change in information and communication technology directly impacts on the way work is being organized and executed.

He added that these are all happening now as the government made its move by reshaping the education system through the K to 12. This new educational system emphasizes academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude to create a versatile workforce for the industry and to ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-academe cooperation.

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on HRD collaborated with PCCI and the Philippine Council of Deans for Business Educators in organizing the 4th NEF.

National Education Forum to Enhance HR Competitiveness

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council Networking Committee on Human Resource Development in collaboration with PCCI Education Committee and the Philippine Council of Deans and Educators in Business (PCDEB) shall conduct the 4th National Education Forum (NEF) with the theme “Business Education: Responding to the Challenges of the Work Environment” on 29 August 2014 at the De La Salle University-College of Saint Benilde, Taft Campus, Taft Avenue, Manila.

This forum will be attended by leaders and professionals in the fields of education and business. It aims to enhance competitiveness by emphasizing academic, technical-vocational and entrepreneurial aptitude; ensure the continuous advancement of relevant knowledge and skills through a permanent industry-education cooperation, advocate apprenticeships for pre-recruitment training of students beginning at basic education and strengthen the role of the academe and the industry in developing labor-related policies that will contribute to the development of human resource.

PCCI urges exporters to use Sundays to decongest ports

August 20, 2014

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) recently encouraged exporters to release their shipments on Sundays in order to help decongest the ports in Manila. This is in response to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which opens its operations on weekends from 8:00AM-5:00PM at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) beginning June 28, 2014.

This palliative measure will relieve pressures caused by the day-time truck ban in the City of Manila.

Malacanang backs up EDC’s advocacy on the simplification of the new accreditation policy of BIR and BOC

August 20, 2014

Executive Secretary Pacquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Office of the President, in a Memorandum sent to Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, enjoined the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider not requiring personal appearance by the applicant in Manila for the importer/customs broker accreditation process under BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 10-2014. He further urged BIR to review the documentary requirements with a view to removing unnecessary documents from the list; since some documents such as income tax returns are already submitted to the same office. He also recommended postponing the deadline for compliance to a reasonable later date.

As of July 31, 2014, the BOC and BIR has not extended the deadline for the accreditation of customs brokers and importers despite the pleas and opposition from the stakeholders due to the added steps, delay and costs brought up by the new accreditation procedures.

The Malacañang move is the result of the advocacies of PHILEXPORT Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Export Development Council (EDC), as well as the meeting among EDC, BIR and BOC regarding the two-stage vetting accreditation.

EDC opposes the draft DENR Administrative Order on the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recently stated its opposition on the draft Administrative Order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with subject “Revised Rules and regulations Governing the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products.

EDC highlighted its concern regarding the undue power given to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which makes it difficult to monitor and to control/prevent “hidden costs”; as well as the collection of arbitrary processing and oath fees, requiring original documents and open-ended requirements contradicts the objective of transparency and simplification.

Amending DAO 99-46 entitled “Revised Regulations Governing the Entry and Disposition of Imported Logs, Lumber, Veneer, Plywood, Other Wood Based Panels, Poles and Piles, Pulpwood and Wood Chips” was reiterated by EDC to DENR, as a more strategic and timely solution in order for the furniture and wood manufacturers sector attain its potential to be the top exporting industry in our country.

EDC opposes the draft DENR Administrative Order on the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products

August 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recently stated its opposition on the draft Administrative Order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with subject “Revised Rules and regulations Governing the Exportation of Forest Products and Forest-Based Products.

EDC highlighted its concern regarding the undue power given to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) which makes it difficult to monitor and to control/prevent “hidden costs”; as well as the collection of arbitrary processing and oath fees, requiring original documents and open-ended requirements contradicts the objective of transparency and simplification.

Amending DAO 99-46 entitled “Revised Regulations Governing the Entry and Disposition of Imported Logs, Lumber, Veneer, Plywood, Other Wood Based Panels, Poles and Piles, Pulpwood and Wood Chips” was reiterated by EDC to DENR, as a more strategic and timely solution in order for the furniture and wood manufacturers sector attain its potential to be the top exporting industry in our country.

LTFRB implements “No Apprehension Policy” to all trucks for hire

July 10, 2014

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will observe a nation wide “No Apprehension Policy” of Trucks-for-Hire with green plates. This policy was issued under the Joint Administration No. 2014-01 for a period of one (1)month from June 28, 2014- July 28, 2014 to give adequate time for trucks-for-hire to apply for their franchise and provisional authority (PA).

To fast track the application of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) filed in the Central Office, the LTFRB, in cooperation with the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines offers a free pick-up of application and delivery of PA to applicants.

Further clarifications may be obtained from the LTFRB 24/7 hotline 459-2129

EDC requests AISL to extend “Container Free Time Period”

July 10, 2014

The Export Development Council is requesting the Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. (AISL) to extend the free time period in returning empty containers in view of the existing port and road traffic congestion for a period of two(2) months.

In a letter dated June 20, 2014 to AISL, EDC cited that the severe congestion along the port and container yards has prolonged the process of returning empty containers causing exporters to go beyond the free time allotted by the shipping lines. The congestion in the port resulted to unforeseen negative effects such as additional detention or demurrage fees to the transport and logistics chain of exporters.

The request will temporarily waive fees on detention/demurrage fees, which is unduly charged to exporters, for the next two (2) months until the situation in the port normalizes.

DTI proposes a PH National Trade Repository

July 10, 2014

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as chair of the Committee for the ASEAN Economic Cooperation (CAEC), has proposed the creation of a Philippine National Trade Repository (PNTR) which will serve as a single source or website containing comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on all trade related matters. The PNTR will be an important component of the government’s trade facilitation strategy. The PNTR will provide businesses easier access to information and facilitate compliance with prescribed regulations. This was announced by Atty. Sherwin Prose Castañeda, Assistant Director of the DTI Bureau of Import Services (BIS) during the June 2014 CAEC Meeting.

Under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the PNTR will connect and interoperate with the national trade repositories of ASEAN member states to create the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR). Once established, the PNTR should create a more transparent environment for trading and help reduce the amount of transaction time and costs. DTI-BIS will be the lead agency in the PH, while all other government agencies will collaborate in supplying information required in the system.

Accreditation of Brokers and Importers Extended!

July 10, 2014

The Department of Finance (DOF) issued Department Order No. 046-2014 extending the application period of importers and customs broker for accreditation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) & Bureau of Customs (BOC) until 31 July 2014.

The extension has been granted following complaints of applicants about the delay in the processing and approval of BIR due to sheer volume of applicants.

Failure to file the application with the BIR and BOC within the extended date will automatically cancel the existing accreditation.

EDC also continues to advocate for the decentralization of receipt of applications to reduce the costs of transportation, accommodation, etc. of importers and brokers outside Metro Manila.


EDC Cautions Customs on the proposed load port survey

June 13, 2014

In a position paper submitted to Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, the Export Development Council (EDC) strongly recommends the amendment of the proposed Customs Administrative Order (CAO) on Load Port Survey (LPS) requirement and advanced import clearance system for bulk, break-bulk, containerized and other non-containerized cargoes. It further recommends to make the LPS voluntary if the importer wants to be exempted from physical and x-ray inspection at the time of arrival of importation.

The legality of issuing a CAO was also raised in the said position paper stating that a mere CAO cannot amend the provisions of an existing Administrative Order which is issued by the President of the Philippines. Further, the Commissioner will exceed his delegated authority by issuing regulation which requires Destination Inspection (DI) by the Accredited Cargo Surveying (ACS) companies in certain cases, thereby limiting the powers of customs officers to examine and assess imported articles under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).

EDC cites that the restrictive measure of the draft CAO may result to delays, higher costs, forgone business opportunities and reduced competitiveness.

EDC supports the proposed revised rates on CY/CFS

June 13, 2014

The EDC has manifested its support on the proposed Bureau of Customs (BOC) Memorandum Order on revised rates of Off-Dock Container Yard/Container Freight Stations (CY/CFS). The said CMO will amend CMO 24-2001, which prescribes rates charged by CY/CFS outside of customs zones.

In a position paper submitted to the BOC last May 23, 2014, the EDC expressed its strong recommendation to the BOC to exercise its authority per CAO 11-80 in order to promulgate uniform rates to be charged by CY/CFS and to ensure that logistics costs are viable and reasonable. EDC notes that the existing rates which are being charged by the Association of Off- Dock CY/CFS Operators of the Philippines (ACOP) violate CMO 24-2001.

The draft CMO will help Philippine exports become more competitive especially those coming from small and medium enterprises as well as aid in fulfilling the Philippines’ commitment to further improve its business environment through lowering the cost of doing business in the country.

VP Binay emphasizes need to invest in education and employee development

June 13, 2014

“Education and the development of employee welfare mechanism have plenty of room for development. In education, the business sector must work with schools and training institutions to align courses offered with the competencies required in the workplace”, said Vice President Binay during the 35th National Conference of Employers.

The VP emphasized that productivity of enterprise is a responsibility shared by all sectors, citing worker motivation as a vital ingredient for achieving desired outputs in the workplace. He added that employers need to implement strategic human resource initiatives to effectively motivate employees. Further, he also emphasized the need to continuously work with government and learning institutions to harmonize education agenda with the needs of the industry.

In conclusion, he urged employers and the business community to invest more on education and employee development.

EDC and NCC support institutionalizing the National School Feeding Program

June 13, 2014

The Export Development Council and National Competitiveness Council- Education and Human Resource Development Technical Working Group (EDC/NCC-EHRD TWG) is supporting the Substitute House Bill for National School Feeding Program.

The bill “An Act Institutionalizing the National School Feeding Program for Public Kindergarten and Elementary Pupils and Appropriating Funds Thereof” calls for the State to promote the rights of children to survival, development and special protection with full recognition on the nature of childhood and its special needs.

The bill aims to ensure that adequate health and nutrition programs are accessible to school children throughout their early childhood years; achieve improved attendance and survival rates in public kindergarten and elementary schools; enhance the physical, social, cognitive, psychological and language development of young children; mitigate nourishment among school children; and to establish an efficient system for early identification, prevention, referral and intervention of developmental disorders and disabilities in early childhood.

In general, the bill ensures the country’s future, specifically in enhancing human resource competitiveness that includes competitiveness of Philippine exports by integrating the industry and education sectors to match the skills and knowledge of the workforce with the needs of businesses. This means sustainability of talents and improvement of the country’s competitiveness in all aspects. The bill does not only ensure a healthy mind and body, but a healthy and robust economy of the country in the future.

Manila Mayor grants an 8-day moratorium on truck ban

May 14, 2014

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada signed an eight-day moratorium on the truck ban starting May 13, 2014 until May 20, 2014.

The moratorium resulted from a formal request made by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson last May 9 asking Estrada for the temporary suspension of the controversial truck ban in line with the 2014 World Economic Forum on East Asia. The forum will gather international experts on business, government, politics, and civil leaders in the ASEAN region. According to Sec. Singson, the moratorium on truck ban is intended to clear the huge back log of containers due to long queuing of 6-7 vessels at any given time.

The said moratorium will provide all stakeholders opportunity to assess and evaluate the most efficient truck operating hours and to mitigate traffic congestion in the City of Manila.

For more details, Executive Order No. 49 can be downloaded at www.edc.net.ph

EDC recommends simplification of the new accreditation policy of BIR and BOC

May 14, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) recommended to the Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima to revisit the new accreditation policy providing a two-stage vetting accreditation of importers and customs brokers with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This is in response to the issues and concerns identified by EDC affecting exporters who import raw materials and other inputs to their export products. Without such accreditation, they will not be able to transact with the BOC.

The recommendations highlighted the impact of BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 10-2014 and Customs Memorandum Order No. 04-2014 specifically on the inconsistent provisions on the documentary requirements, processing time, accrediting offices, records-keeping and transitory provisions. EDC further recommended to harmonize and simplify the requirements in these issuances for trade facilitation.

Exporters/Stakeholders consulted for PEDP 2014-2016 Regional Consultation Workshops

May 14, 2014

Essential to the development and crafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2014-2016 is the consultation among exporters, business support organizations, and government agency partners. Hence, the recently concluded PEDP 2014-2016 Regional Consultation Workshops held in Davao, NCR and Cebu validated the export status, targets and strategies laid down for PEDP 2014-2016

The Consultation Workshops were organized by the Department of Trade and Industry in cooperation with the EU-TRTA Project 3, the Export Development Council and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.

The PEDP is one of the most important elements of the International Trade Strategy. The plan, when approved by the President, will be jointly implemented by the government, exporters and other concerned sectors.

PH MSMEs urged to seize opportunities in AEC 2015 to accelerate PH advantage

May 14, 2014

Former NEDA Secretary, now USAID Chief of Party, Dr. Cielito F. Habito urges PH MSMEs to seize opportunities to accelerate PH advantage in ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 and other trade agreements. He stated that despite the challenges posed by the AEC, it also opens more opportunities for less developed members. Unbalanced gains were foreseen as big businesses are better positioned than MSMEs to reap gains, hence small businesses require deliberate support and assistance.

Dr. Habito mentioned that value chains which are largely intra-industry in nature will cross national boundaries and complement PH products, hence resulting to lesser competition. He also encouraged MSMEs to enhance efficiency via supply chain design & strategic location of various business functions. Dr. Habito added that greater efficiency can result from more technology sharing and can lower costs & prices for all. He urged MSMEs to deploy skilled labor strategically for maximum productivity and tap wider financing options from integrated regional capital markets.

Congress calls for amendment of IRR of Magna Carta for MSMEs

April 23, 2014

Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, in a privilege speech last 05 March 2014, calls for the amendment of the BSP Circular 625, the implementing rules and regulations of the Magna Carta for MSMEs, to align the sanctions on non-compliance to the mandatory allocation of loans. He also asked to clearly define “loan portfolio” and to restructure the monitoring system. He recommended for a review of the law by convening the Oversight Committee to validate varying claims on how the law is interpreted and implemented. These recommendations aim to provide better access of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to credit .

According to him, despite the numerous existing financing programs, MSMEs still find difficulty in accessing credit. While it is true that the opportunity for the poor to be productive can come from the MSME sector which is seen as the critical driver of the country’s economic growth, the sector’s performance remains constrained by high cost of doing business, lack of access to financing, lack of market information, low productivity and competitiveness.

As a result, the Congressional Oversight Committee will convene when Congress resumes in May 2014.

EDC Creates Public-Private TWG on Customs Modernization and Tariff Act

April 23, 2014

The Export Development Council led the organization of a dedicated Technical Working Group (TWG) that studies the bills on Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The TWG aims to ensure that the CMTA is consistent with the Revised Kyoto Convention and other international trade facilitation protocols.

The EDC TWG-CMTA acts as the primary technical group that shall consolidate and solidify the positions of various relevant agencies both from the public and private sectors such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Makati Business Club (MBC), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Tariff Commission (TC), etc. This is in conjunction with the initiatives from the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines in innovating and updating Customs policies to make it more responsive to a modernized and automated environment.

DTI’s Export Trade Complaints Committee helps resolve export disputes

April 23, 2014

The Export Trade Complaints Committee (ETCC) of the DTI Export Management Bureau (EMB) helps resolve complaints arising from export trade-related transactions including but not limited to: non-payment of delivery, non-delivery of paid order, short shipment, cancelled L/C order, quality specifications deviations, and other nature of complaints.

The ETCC is chaired by EMB Director Senen M. Perlada and composed of representatives from EMB, DTI Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and the Credit Information Bureau Inc. (CIBI). They are assisted by EMB personnel duly trained by the Makati Regional Trial Court and the Supreme Court of the Philippines, to mediate on export-related complaints. Complainants may file complaints to EMB Director Perlada, the nearest DTI regional / provincial office or Philippine Trade Post abroad.

For more information, the ETCC Secretariat may be contacted at tel. +63(2)465-3300 loc. 112 or email at: etcc_Secretariat@dti.gov.ph

DENR-FMB, DTI initiates Forum on Legal Timber Verification

April 23, 2014

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are supporting initiatives of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) for the verification of legal timber to help Philippine producers comply with requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and other international trade legislation.

The EU Timber regulation is a binding legislation that the European Union has introduced to reduce illegal logging. This regulation is part of a 2003 initiative, called the EU Forest law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, which recognizes the role both producers and consumers play in curbing and stopping illegal timber harvesting in trade.

In the said Forum held last 26 March 2014, Mr. Raul Briz, Senior Forester Management Specialist said that the DENR-FMB is currently developing a clear structure of all documents required for legal verification that will provide the structure for the Timber Legality Assurance Scheme and setting up TLA procedures in compliance with EUTR.

At present, the Philippines is working towards a comprehensive approach for importers to conduct "Due Diligence" and a system that will continually improve transparency across the supply chain.

Mr. Nicolaas de Lange, CFIP National President emphasized that the EUTR will affect the furniture industry which employs 1.9 million direct and indirect workers in 2013. He further said that 20-25% of the total industry's exports go to the EU market.

EDC pushes Batangas International Terminal as alternative Ports

March 20, 2014

With the on-going efforts in resolving issues arising from the truck ban, the Export Development Council urges exporters and truckers to use Batangas International Port as an alternate port for goods moving in and out of South Luzon since the Port of Manila is congested and operating beyond its capacity. Hence, cargo trucks continue to congest not just the port but also the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

EDC believes that Batangas Port is ready to accommodate shipments since all major road infrastructure networks are in place. It also serves as a complementary gateway for the ports of Manila. The port is directly connected with the major highways via modern infrastructure making it conveniently accessible to shippers, truckers and passengers.

To realize this, EDC recommended the issuance of a policy or an executive order directing foreign cargoes to shift to the newly developed Batangas International Port as a long-term solution to decongest the Ports of Manila.

Moreover, EDC and PEZA are jointly encouraging ecozone locators to nominate Batangas International Port as their port of loading of export cargoes and unloading of imported raw materials.

EDC supports the proposed Super Green Lane (SGL) for SMEs

March 20, 2014

The Export Development Council (EDC) expressed its support on DTI’s initiative to enhance the Super Green Lane (SGL), intended to introduce greater efficiencies in customs and trade to small and medium enterprises.

The Super Green Lane, established by Executive Order No. 230 s. 2000, provides a special facility which, with the use of Electronic Data Interchange, will allow for the advance processing and clearance of the shipments of the country’s topmost qualified importers without prior physical examination and documentary check on their shipments upon compliance with pertinent Customs laws, rules and regulations.

With the proposed expansion of the SGL for SMEs, modernization and efficiency in customs clearance processing can now be greatly felt by almost 99.6% of Philippine SMEs; since the initial SGL and SGL Plus only covered 0.4% of the industry. It will assure qualified SME importers and exporters with simplified, prompt and efficient customs clearance and will pave the way towards other government initiatives, such as the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), Self-Certification System and the National SME Development Plan.