E-commerce a vital tool for economic development – DTI

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — E-commerce plays an important role in the country’s economic development, according to Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with the Philippine Bar Association, held on Friday the first e-commerce congress, which aims to promote a robust e-commerce environment in the Philippines.

“We have all the ingredients – the economic assets – to make this happen: a young and digital native population, a growing middle class, available and affordable technologies and significant surpluses in the financial sector,” Pascual said.

“E-commerce is one of the most potent tools and fastest routes in unlocking these economic assets toward sustained accelerated economic development,” he added.

The event aims to promote a robust e-commerce environment in the Philippines, where online businesses, especially small ones, can develop and compete globally.

Based on Google Temasek Bain’s e-Conomy SEA 2022 report, the Philippines’ internet economy continues its upward trend, growing by 20 percent to $20 billion this year from a year ago with e-commerce propelling it to $35 billion by 2025.

According to the DTI, the number of businesses on retail sales via the internet has increased, while there has also been an increase in the number of consumer complaints against online sellers.

Due to this, the DTI said the time is ripe for a new, relevant, and responsive e-commerce Law.

Last year, DTI launched the e-commerce Philippines 2022 roadmap to employ government strategies that will speed up and broaden internet transactions by improving the digital infrastructure.

“The current administration is bent on working on and enhancing this agenda to increase the contribution of eCommerce to the Philippine economy with the development of the eCommerce Philippines 2023-2025 Roadmap,” the DTI said.

Meanwhile, Pascual pointed out that there are new laws and regulations related to e- commerce that are currently being drafted, such as on privacy, digital taxation, the gig economy, and pivoting to a cash-light society.

“I hope that there will be productive dialogues in these areas because we urgently need to develop and improve our policies to create an enabling regulatory environment for e-commerce to grow,” he said.

The e-commerce congress brought together government officials, members of the business sector, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to pursue the overarching goal of strengthening eCommerce industry in the country.

The e-commerce congress tackled the Internet Transactions bill, which aims to harness the overwhelming potential of the e-commerce market.

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