TAGUIG CITY—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on Thursday, conducted the International Trade Forum (ITF), which was attended by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

The Forum, bearing the theme, “Empowering Philippine Industries” highlighted the launching of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028 as well as critical discussions on the benefits brought by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement.

During his opening message, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual said that, “We find ourselves standing on the cusp of two historic milestones: the unveiling of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2023-2028 and the advocacy campaign kickoff in the Philippines for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. These two strategic pillars will be instrumental in bringing our theme of ‘Empowering Philippine Export Industries’ to life by showing how we can tap the global export markets and investment opportunities.”

The ITF is a crucial part of the Department’s efforts to heighten awareness of stakeholders on trade policies and its impacts to their businesses and encourage more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in trade policy formulation. The event brought together more than 200 representatives from the government, the Philippine business sector, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, business chambers, and the media.

With the aim of tapping the vast potentials of the Philippine exports, the PEDP enables the shift in the government’s approach in terms of export development. It puts export development as a national agenda and focuses on addressing binding constraints to export competitiveness, expanding the country’s export capacities, and seizing growth opportunities in the international market. It likewise seeks to undertake an industry development-centric approach that will make the Philippines a competitive global player.

“We need to chart a course that includes cultivating an environment that fosters business growth, empowering our industries not just to survive but flourish in a dynamic global landscape, leveraging the full spectrum of our preferential trade arrangements like the RCEP, projecting the visibility of our products on the international stage, and perhaps most critically, attracting investments to enhance, expand, and diversify our production capabilities,” Secretary Pascual emphasized in his message.

Further, the Statement of Commitment to Implement the Philippine Export Development Plan, which was signed by DTI Secretary Fred Pascual together with other public and private sector representatives was presented to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. during the ITF.

The Statement commits the signatories in fulfilling the following: (1) Ensuring the implementation of the PEDP; (2) Identifying, implementing, and supporting policies, programs, and projects in line with the PEDP; (3) Addressing binding constraints to export competitiveness, particularly burdensome and unnecessary regulations; (4) Complying with the monitoring, evaluation, communication and reporting of the PEDP outcomes; and (5) Reaffirming the importance of the Export Development Council (EDC) as a public-private partnership through diligent participation in council meetings.

Through various international trade policies and agreements, the DTI aims to transform the Philippines into a dynamic and agile export powerhouse that is capable of meeting both local and international market demands.♦

Date of release: 15 June 2023