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13 August 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Filipino companies, especially those engaged in the food business, are encouraged to use smart packaging technologies to ensure product safety and quality which are key drivers of competitiveness.

“For exporters, it will ensure the quality and safety of their products. It can directly communicate with the consumers because it has indicator. You can immediately see if your product is fresh or not,” said Daisy Tañafranca, chief of the Packaging Technology Division of the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI).

Tañafranca pointed out packaging technology becomes more sophisticated, especially for products geared for the export markets. Smart packaging technology includes the use of active packaging, intelligent packaging, and radio frequency identification (RFID). She cited as an example the utilization of active packaging which delays the ripening of banana and mango, preserves the freshness of heirloom rice, and extend the shelf life of bread.

Tañafranca said intelligent packaging monitors the condition of packaged foods, and provides information on the quality of the packaged goods during transport and storage.

It is used mainly in logistics and supply chain management, as well as food and defense safety, she added. Tañafranca further said the RFID technology, on the other hand, is a tagging and tracking system for food and other goods. She noted many developed countries are already using smart packaging technologies.

13 August 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar has encouraged entrepreneurs across Zamboanga Peninsula to cash in on the huge global market demand for halal products, and make their region a gateway to Mindanao as the halal capital of the country.

Villar said they have to get “serious” about making halal products, as she asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to assist them in promoting halal exports.

“The global market for halal food and lifestyle products is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2024. Kaya ang laki-laki po ng [the] market [is really huge] for halal products. The extent of market opportunities is quite varied and diversified,” she said during the opening of Zamboanga Peninsula Exposition (ZAMPEX) 2019 held here recently.

Villar said business opportunities are offered by various industries ranging from food, beverages, cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceutical, health care, tourism, among many others.

The senator pointed out that the halal market size is expected to expand tremendously, along with the growth in the Muslim population, which is projected to rise to 2.2 billion in 2030 or nearly 26 percent of the world’s population.

“And of course the disposable income of Muslim is also on an upward trend. Consumption of halal products among non-Muslim consumers is also on the rise which is expected to fuel global demand,” she said, noting the global demand is also coming from the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, the five-day ZAMPEX 2019, which was held at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, targets to double last year’s sales of P25 million of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Zamboanga Peninsula.

13 August 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

With global growth likely to remain sluggish for the remainder of 2019, the government must exert all efforts in boosting domestic demand and exports’ competitiveness to improve the Philippines’s trade performance, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a news statement on Wednesday.

The Philippine Statistics Authority, an attached agency of NEDA, on Wednesday reported that the country’s total merchandise trade contracted by 5.8 percent in June 2019 as the decrease in merchandise imports (-10.4 percent) outstripped the growth of exports (1.5 percent).

Imports continued its downward trend for three consecutive months now, with raw material and intermediate good, and consumer goods posting the biggest decline at -16.5 percent and -12.8 percent, respectively.

The moderate recovery of exports, on the other hand, continued for the third consecutive month.

Increased sales of agro-based products, minerals, and manufactures compensated for the decline in outward shipments of petroleum products and other agro-based products.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia attributed the external trade slowdown in part to the ongoing trade disputes, Brexit-related uncertainties, and rising geopolitical tensions.

“Despite the challenging external environment, the Philippines has shown resilience in its trade performance. The Philippines is among the countries in Asia with positive export growth,” he said.

In terms of exports earnings, only Vietnam and the Philippines registered gains among selected Asian economies (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand).

“The government must continue promoting the competitiveness of the Philippine exports by implementing policies and laws such as the Philippine Innovation Act. This will encourage innovation that will reduce the cost of production and elevate the quality of Philippine products to meet international standards,” the Cabinet official added.

“However, considering the less optimistic global trade prospects, it is necessary to diversify markets and boost domestic demand to compensate for the weakness of external trade,” Pernia said.

The Cabinet official likewise reiterated NEDA’s call to diversify products and markets by establishing new trade relations and improving existing ones with strategic partners.

“In light of the current trade spat between Korea and Japan, we need to complete the negotiations for the free-trade agreement with South Korea and review the decade-old Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement to further expand the country’s exports in both markets,” said Pernia.

“Importantly, the government has been fast-tracking the implementation of infrastructure projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program to enhance trade facilitation and provide logistical support to manufacturers and exporters,” he added.

However, only 11 (of 38 NEDA Board-approved project proposals) out of the 75 infrastructure flagship projects are now in the construction phase. Further speeding up the roll-out of approved projects and processing of those in the flagship list are called for to boost government spending to provide needed stimulus to economic growth.

Pernia urged the government to also be ready with countermeasures against disruptions to construction activities that may occur from likely unfavorable weather conditions.

13 August 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ready to implement the European Union Registered Exporters (REX) system for certifying the origin of goods.

The system is crucial in allowing Philippine exporters to continue enjoying benefits under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

”The REX system will gradually replace the current system of origin certification based on certificates of origin (CO Form A) issued by BOC,” the agency’s Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group deputy commissioner Atty. Edward James Dy Buco said in a memo dated July 5.

A Customs order on guidelines for implementation of the system will soon be issued.

Exporters may start applying online through https://customs.ec.europa.eu/rex-pa-ui/#/create-preapplication.

Once the electronic application is submitted, a printed application from must be submitted by exporters to the BOC’s Export Division or Export Unit together with the tax identification number; unique reference number(URN) for Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) locators and Client Profile Registration System fornon-PEZA locators; and product evaluation report, if applicable.

All application forms submitted to the Export Divisions/Unit shall be endorsed to BOC’s Export CoordinatingDivision (ECD) for registration to the REX system.

Exporters shall be notified about the results of the application and assigned a REX number within seven workingdays from receipt of the complete set of documents by ECD from the export division of ports.CO Form A shall be issued by the Export Divisions/Units for exporters that are not yet registered to REX untilDecember 31, 2019.

In case majority of exporters to EU are not yet able to register by the third quarter of thisyear, an extension of six months may be requested from the EU. If the extension is granted, it is only up to June 30, 2020.

The Department of Trade and Industry - Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) will hold an information session on European Union’s new system of registration for exporters on 20 August 2019, 8:30 am at the Rosemary Ballroom, City Garden Grand Hotel, Makati City. The resource speaker will be Mr. Christophe Fontaine of DG Taxud which is the EU Customs Office.

Exporters registered in this new system, called the EU REX, will be included in the EU list of registered exporters and will be able to issue their own statement of origin or certificate of origin. The certificate of origin is a requirement to avail the tariff preference under the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus or GSP+. This is expected to make exporting to the EU faster and easier.

The Philippines is one of the beneficiary countries of the EU GSP+ that grants zero tariffs to 6,274 product lines. Based on EU trade data, Philippine GSP+ utilization has been increasing from 68% in 2015 to 73% in 2018. The increased utilization rate has resulted in the increase of exports to the EU from EUR6.68 billion in 2015 to EUR7.49 billion in 2018. Top products exported under EU GSP+ were crude coconut oil and canned tuna.

In 2018, EU was the Philippines’ 5th trading partner, export market and import source. Total bilateral trade was valued at $17.49 billion with exports at $8.91 billion and imports at $8.59 billion. Total PH - EU trade from 2014 to 2018, grew at an average 5.10%; exports by 7.32%, and imports by 3.02%.

The top Philippine exports to the EU on the industrial side were semiconductor and electronic products, vessels for transport and aero parts. On the other hand, top Philippine food exports to the EU were tunas, desiccated coconuts, prepared pineapples and pineapple juice, biscuits and pastries, and sardines.

Exporters interested to attend this information session on the EU REX System can contact Maria Jaena P. Go-Aco at email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone number 632 4653300 local 228.♦

Date of Release: 7 August 2019

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