DTI, PHILEXPORT to enhance exporter use, awareness of FTAs

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Exporters and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are seen to reap significant benefits from a new cooperation between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) that seeks to elevate the business sector’s awareness and utilization of free trade agreements (FTAs). 

DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual and PHILEXPORT president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. signed on June 11, 2024 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing the two sides’ cooperation to promote the utilization of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other Philippine FTA initiatives.

The MOU is intended to enlarge the knowledge and usage by exporters and MSMEs of FTAs, preferential trade arrangements (PTAs), economic partnership agreements (EPAs), and similar pacts including RCEP in order to improve the export community’s global competitiveness and expand its market access.

“Through this strategic partnership, we will launch a comprehensive trade education and advocacy campaign that will empower our exporters with the knowledge and tools needed to capture the international market,” said Pascual in a post on his FB page. “Equipped with this expertise, they will unlock a wave of new business opportunities, create big-ticket jobs, and propel the Philippines economy towards sustainable growth.”

Ortiz-Luis said: “This worthy endeavor seeks to address the relatively low utilization by our exporters of Philippine-initiated FTAs, EPAs, PTAs and similar trade pacts. Our intent is to open their eyes to the many benefits, opportunities, and advantages that await them once they learn to fully utilize these free trade pacts.”

Under the MOU, the government agency and the umbrella organization of exporters will collaborate on a trade education and advocacy drive that includes regular dialogues and consultations on FTAs.

The partnership also agrees to undertake capacity-building activities and mentorship programs for exporters and PHILEXPORT technical staff members to strengthen the capability of the export community to utilize these FTAs.

Further, DTI and PHILEXPORT will be jointly providing networking and linkage opportunities for businesses and industry associations seeking to participate in global value chains through these trade deals.

Under the MOU, DTI commits to provide PHILEXPORT access to data and information necessary for the conduct of collaborative activities, subject to relevant confidentiality and data privacy laws.

The agency will also provide resource persons, co-organizers or contributors, and assist PHILEXPORT in disseminating to stakeholders information materials on FTAs and pertinent government regulations.

For its part, PHILEXPORT pledges to promote and cascade information on FTAs among its members, assign a point person to coordinate with the DTI on implementing programs and activities, and partner with DTI in organizing relevant consultative dialogues, roadshows, webinars and seminars.

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