By Magnolia Uy / Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the WTO, Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Geneva
ACCESSING relevant information on product requirements in export markets can be a huge challenge, especially for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Thus, a new Web-based alert system designed to help government agencies and MSMEs to receive the latest information on regulatory requirements in various markets was tackled during “Usapang Exports” last December. More than 50 Philippine exporters participated in the virtual training delivered through video-conference that was coorganized by the Philippine Investment Center-Geneva and the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), in coordination with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The system, known as ePing, allows access to WTO members’ notifications of TBT and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. It also facilitates dialogue among the public and private sectors in addressing potential trade problems at an early stage. Users of ePing will be able to easily keep up to date with notifications affecting foreign markets and products of particular interest to them.
The publicly accessible online tool is available at www.epingalert.org. Through a simple registration page, users can personalize the alerts regarding SPS and TBT notifications covering specific products or markets of interest to them. In addition, it offers an Enquiry Point Management Tool to facilitate domestic, as well as international, information sharing and discussion. The system helps users track, consult and comment on measures that are being developed and/or adapt as necessary to changing regulatory conditions.
Each year, the WTO receives more than 3,500 TBT and SPS notifications proposing new measures that may affect international trade. Consequently, the need to comply with different foreign technical regulations and standards involves significant costs for producers and exporters. By improving access to this information, ePing will help avoid disruptions caused by these measures.
With the high interest received from the participants, the ePing alert system will become part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s “Doing Business in Free Trade Agreement” Programme implemented by the Export Manufacturing Bureau.