Freeman Cebu Business

Survey: Internal woes impede export growth

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - More than the unpredictable demands from the global markets, what’s keeping Philippine exporters from maximizing business profitability are actually internally-induced problems, a survey revealed.

In a latest survey conducted by the International Trade Center (ITC), it showed that procedural obstacles imposed by the Philippine government impede exporters to progress.

ITC is a subsidiary organization of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The survey revealed that around 50 local agencies and institutions were mentioned as being involved in procedures related to non-tariff measures (NTMs) that suggests “heavy administrative cost of compliance,” said the report.

According to survey respondents, the biggest obstacles implemented locally refer to export clearance that involves unusually high fees and charges (30 percent of respondents), delays (20 percent), various documents (15 percent), informal payment or bribes (15 percent), translation of documents (6 percent), lack of facilities (6 percent), others (2 percent).

Overall, the report said “the disparity between the prevalence [of] POs experienced in the Philippines in contrast to partner countries is disconcerting.”

Local agencies identified as connected with domestic procedural impediments include the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Product Standards, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Food and Drug Administration, and Philippine National Police. Also in the list are accredited third parties and private standards.

The report further said the Philippine agencies seem inordinately concerned about ensuring they abide by their own mandate more than anything else, even at the expense of the people they serve.

It further reported that what appears common across agencies is the focus on implementing regulations aimed at safeguarding individual turfing mandates that disregards both the cost impact on exporters and PO redundancies dealt to other regulating agencies.

The “ITC Business Survey on Non-Tariff Measures in the Philippines, 2015-2016” was conducted in 2015 and 2016 by ITC in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).

Change underway

With the goal of the new administration to cut red tape in government agencies, exporters are now hoping that the internal problems hounding the industry will soon be over.

Philexport-Cebu president Nelson Bascones said Cebuano exporters are hoping the new political leaders in both local and national levels will be more sensitive on crafting programs to protect or develop the industry.

"The policy and the priority of the new government will affect our export business a lot," said Bascones adding that the new leaders should have already known the plight of the exporters for years, and deeply understand the role of competitiveness in the fragile world market. (FREEMAN)

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