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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

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.

29 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Exporters are optimistic about reaching a 6-percent revenue growth target this year on the back of services sector as they go full blast in implementing the newly approved export development plan.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the export plan will now be brought down to different departments that will be mandated to make this part of their programs.

“We might not do it in the merchandise but services export is doing quite well,” he said, citing the business-process outsourcing (BPO) and tourism sectors.

“We are also hoping that somehow, the agricultural sector will develop better and some breakthrough in the policies on the mining sector,” he added.

Ortiz-Luis said there are still a lot of products that the country is supposed to export like fruits. “We have developed markets but we don’t have the products. So, hopefully, the policies now and the funding will be able to push next year,” he said.

The Philexport chief pointed out that the services sector can somehow offset the slower merchandise exports, which he considers a worldwide problem. “The world tradings have been suffering for so many reasons, among others, the trade war between China and the US. While it [trade war] is not affecting us directly, it has affected our major markets, the suppliers like Japan, US and China also,” he said.

Ortiz-Luis said they hoped that the electronics industry, still the country’s top exporter, should grow above the current 3 percent.To boost export growth, he further said industry players are focusing in Asia, particularly the Asean. “Because of the economic agreement [Asean Economic Community], the tariff structures and the easier access to this market,” Ortiz-Luis added.

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.

By Philippine News Agency

29 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Leaders in Mindanao region have vowed to sustain and improve both economic ties and cultural exchanges anchored on years of bilateral relations between Philippines and Indonesia.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Nathaniel Dalumpines, in his message during the recent opening of Wonderful Indonesia Tourism, Food and Trade Expo 2019, said it is good for more people especially the youth, to know and appreciate the culture of its BIMP-Eaga (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area) neighbors through exhibits and activities, and the holding of the business networking sessions.

Such activities, according to him, can further strengthen business connections and linkages.

The expo showcases Indonesia’s authentic food and delicacies, and other export quality products like herbs, coffee and other beverages.

Indonesia’s top tourist destinations were highlighted in a campaign spearheaded by the foreign country’s Ministry of Tourism, with seven travel agencies offering packages to Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya, Lombok  and other unexplored must-visit sites.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Mindanao Assistant Secretary Norman Garibay said the expo can be considered as an infusion of fresh blood to the BIMP-Eaga which was the reason their office was established.

“There are changing realities in the island especially with the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao [BARMM] and the growing economic significance in Mindanao, the Davao region and Davao City,” Garibay stressed.

Cultural presentations were also held during the Expo that runs from July 12 to 14.

In support of strengthening efforts on Mindanao-Indonesia relations, Dalumpines announced that MV Baltic Summer, the vessel utilized by Reefer Express Line Filipinas for Davao-Bitung route arrived Friday afternoon in time for the opening of the Wonderful Indonesia Expo.

“I hope the resumption of the route spurs on more trading activities between our local entrepreneurs and their Indonesian counterparts,” he said.

He added that the shipping service has gained the strong support of the government and private sector of Indonesia, and that works must continue to ensure sufficient cargo load in order to sustain the said route.

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