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The survey reported that approximately 70 percent of 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. Technical requirements include compliance with fumigation and labeling, among others. Conformity assessment includes product certification, testing and other related assessments, such as inspection, quarantine, traceability and registration. Some also experience unnecessary costs and delays in domestic institutions when processing required documents.

The 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.

Streamlining processes for local exporters and importers have been the agenda of the agency for the past six months. Consultations and awareness campaigns have been the primary initiatives of the DTI to actively seek for solutions and inputs from different sectors affected by regulatory bottlenecks.

The DTI has also been in the forefront in addressing exporters’ concern specifically to shorten the processing time and administrative requirements. Setting the legislative priorities for the 17th Congress, especially for transport and logistics to have a more competitive export industry, is also among the bold strategies being tapped. Specifically, 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.

As part of the initiatives in the execution of Strategy 2 of PEDP 2015-2017, EDC, with the DTI as  the lead agency and  the Export Marketing  Bureau, initiates action plans geared toward  easing the processes for exporters.

A joint Department Administrative Order 001, Series of 2016, was issued on May 16 for the implementation of the amended cabotage law, which will ease logistics concern. 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 on May 31.

The DTI, Board of Investments and EDC have also led the streamlining of the procedures of the Philippine National Police 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 Republic Act 9516 was issued on June 9.

The 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 and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines  Charter in order to separate the regulatory and operator functions of both agencies. There is also a proposal to repeal Presidential Decree  1221 that requires mandatory dry-docking in the shipyards registered with the Maritime Industry Authority.

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. The DTI and EDC had been in the forefront of forwarding CMTA into law.

The DTI will be in constant dialogue with other government agencies included in the Memorandum Circular 91 to further simplify their respective procedures and face up the challenge of synchronizing programs, activities and projects conducive for trade. At the earliest opportunity, we hope to convene to further discuss next action plans to further address this concern.□

Nora K. Terrado , Undersecretary, Industry Promotion Group, Department of Trade and Industry

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