The result of the recent survey conducted by International Trade Centre (ITC) which showed close to three-quarters of exporters and importers in the Philippines suffer from non-tariff measures (NTMs) is a clear validation of the findings of the Export Development Council (EDC) led by the Department of Trade and Industry. The survey specifically reported that most exporting and importing companies in the Philippines face difficulties in complying with foreign technical requirements and conformity assessment procedures which are often followed in developed countries. Some also experience unnecessary costs and delays in domestic institutions when processing required documents.

DTI sees strategies included in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017 as instrumental in addressing exporters’ and importers’ concerns on the said results.

“DTI has been in the forefront of streamlining processes for our exporters and importers. For the past six months, we have been active in addressing exporters’ concern specifically to shorten the processing time and administrative requirements. We have been pushing for legislative priorities for the 17th Congress, especially for transport and logistics to have a more competitive export industry. Strategy #2 of the PEDP 2015-2017, which states the removal of the unnecessary regulatory impediments to the movement of goods and delivery of services, hopefully, will be instrumental in addressing these concerns,” said Nora K. Terrado, Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Group.

As part of the initiatives in the execution of Strategy No. 2 of PEDP 2015-2017, EDC, with DTI as the lead agency and Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), initiate action plans that are geared towards easing the processes for exporters.

A joint Department Administrative Order No. 001 s.2016 was issued last May 16 for the implementation of the amended Cabotage Law. The Departments of Finance, Transportation and Communication, Trade and Industry, and Justice collaboratively signed the administrative order stating the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the said law which took effect last May 31.

DTI/Board of Investments (BOI), and EDC have also led the streamlining of the PNP procedures in the issuance of license and permits in the possession, importation, export, movement, transport, deal and purchase of regulated chemicals. The lists of regulated chemicals have been trimmed down from 101 to 32. As a result, an IRR of RA 9516 was issued last June 9, 2016.

Moreover, EDC also recommends legislative priorities for the 17th Congress to have a more competitive export industry; specifically, for transport and logistics. Some of the recommendations include the Amendment of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Charter in order to separate the regulatory and operator functions of both agencies. There is also a proposal to repeal Presidential Decree (PD) 1221 that requires mandatory dry-docking in MARINA registered shipyards.

Just recently, EDC welcomed the signing of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which enables full customs automation and will make processes easier for exporters, importers and traders to comply with complex customs procedures. With CMTA, the Philippines will now be compliant to the Revised Kyoto Convention. DTI and EDC had been in the forefront of forwarding CMTA into law.

“We will be in constant dialogue with other government agencies included in the Memorandum Circular No. 91 to further simplify their respective procedures and face up the challenge of synchronizing programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) conducive for trade. At the earliest opportunity, we hope to convene to further discuss next action plans to further address this concern,” Undersecretary Terrado added.

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