The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) recently held a series of workshops to inform stakeholders about Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs).

The Workshop featured presentations by representatives from the WTO on recent research on NTMs and database tools to help exporters identify which NTMs most affect their exports. Representatives of relevant government bureaus/agencies such as the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards, Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Customs presented their initiatives on assisting exporters including infrastructural or administrative programs to meet the key NTM requirements.

During the workshops, participants said that the lack of access to information on NTMs is a major challenge they constantly face, particularly in the case of exporters who rely mostly on information passed on by importers/buyers. There are instances when goods are already at the port, only to be held, or worse, returned back to the Philippines due to a new regulation or certification imposed by the importing country.

Exporters likewise expressed appreciation for the presence of resource persons from relevant government agencies. DTI trade officers posted in key Philippine export markets such as US, European Union and China, provided on the ground information during the workshop. Meanwhile, the trade officers in Geneva provided insights and developments of NTM discussions at the multilateral level.

The Workshops on Non-Tariff Measures were held on last 27-29 May 2014 in Makati that was attended by over 90 stakeholders including experts, government agencies and exporters.  A similar workshop was held on 2-3 June 2014, in Davao.

The National NTM Workshop is one of the DTI’s key initiatives in building knowledge in this area. Spearheaded by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Geneva, Switzerland, related initiatives to be rolled out this year include the National Business NTM Survey in cooperation with the International Trade Center, among others.

NTM2 WTO’s Ms. Adelina Mendoza, who is in-charge of WTO’s main annual tariff publication entitled "World Tariff Profiles", gave step-by-step session on the various tariff and non-tariff databases that the WTO website hosts. NTM4 Bureau of Customs’ Mr. Louie Adviento provided the audience with an overview of BOC’s initiatives to facilitate trade for Philippine exporters, particularly in when entering other markets.