Government to remove hindrances to trade, export
(The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The government intends to prioritize over the next two years the removal of unnecessary domestic regulations that raise the costs of production and restrict the flow of export products.

The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) and the Export Development Council (EDC) said the newly approved Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015 to 2017 outlines key strategies to fast track regulatory reforms in boosting the country’s trade and exports.

According to the export groups, measures include accelerating and completing reforms at the Bureau of Customs through the immediate passage of the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act as well as modernizing the agency by automating customs procedures.

The government is also set to implement the new Cabotage Law that allows co-loading of foreign cargoes by foreign vessels, streamline compliance procedures and regulatory requirements imposed by various agencies on traded goods, and coordinate and harmonize public policies particularly those that affect traded goods.

EDC deputy executive director Emma Mijares said the pressing concerns among exporters at present is the requirement to obtain several permits from the Philippine National Police to import, unload, transport, purchase, store, and send controlled chemicals.

Mijares said the EDC is negotiating with police and local government officials to have the process simplified and have some removed.

“Hopefully, before May (there will be) streamlined procedures and lesser requirements for this PNP regulation,” Mijares said.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) export marketing bureau director Senen Perlada, meanwhile, said restraints to the country’s export growth include the concentration of revenues in fewer goods and markets, slow or declining demand for local exports globally, reduced competitiveness of exports, and fewer exports in sectors in which the Philippines has both comparative and competitive advantage.

Perlada said the PEDP aims to make the country catch up with its regional neighbors by adopting a four-pronged approach to address export hindrances.

“One approach is to diversify into new markets and products, while another is to identify and develop export capabilities in products where global demand is growing fast. The third is to address the bottlenecks that undermine export competitiveness, and finally, to harness the potential of goods and services where the Philippines can be competitive but have yet to attain comparative advantage,” Perlada said.

“The long-term vision of this plan is to fully integrate the Philippine economy into the global production network” through a supportive business environment,” he added.

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