By Franclem A. Peña | DTI-EMB Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD)

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is an active advocate of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in resolving conflicts in trade and business transactions. The Filipino public may be well oriented with the highly promoted DTI mediation and arbitration services for the resolution of consumer complaints.

For decades now, DTI, through its Export Trade Complaints Committee (ETCC), has been offering free mediation service in resolving export-related complaints or trade disputes.  The ETCC is headed and presided by the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director as chairperson while its members include the DTI-Legal Service (LS) Director and a representative from the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), the accredited exporter organization under Republic Act No. 7844 or the Export Development Act.

On February 22, 2019, DTI issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19-04. Series of 2019 “Guidelines in Resolving Export Trade Complaints Formally Lodged at the Department of Trade and Industry Revising DAO No. 14-1, Series of 2014”.

The new DAO is directed to address the changing nature of export trade complaints relating to exported Philippine goods and services, which, if remain unresolved will seriously affect the image of the Philippines as a reliable source of goods and services. Its scope includes but is not limited to (1) non-payment of delivery; (2) non-delivery of paid order; (3) canceled letter of credit order; (4) short shipment; (5) noncompliance with quality specification; (6) unjustified nonperformance of contractual obligations.

Both complainants and respondents are given due process. They are encouraged to resolve their issues amicably by coming up with settlement agreements acceptable to all parties.

ETCC findings are classified into: (1) Dismissed—if there is a failure to substantiate the allegations of the complaint or lack of basis to hold respondent liable for the complaint; (2) Settled—if an amicable settlement between the parties was reached through the intervention of the ETCC; (3) Watchlisting—notwithstanding the outcome of the mediation proceeding, watchlisting may be effected based on the following grounds: (a) The respondent used a fictitious name or address; (b) The respondent is involved in two (2) or more export trade complaints; or (c) There is a substantial finding, based on past and present complaints, that the acts complained of would seriously affect the image of the Philippines as a reliable supplier of goods or services. Any party included in the watchlist cannot avail of the assistance or services from DTI.

All export trade complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant and may be in electronic document form. The complaint may be filed personally, by mail, or by electronic means. Copies of pertinent documents supporting the complaint must be attached to the complaint. Complaints may be filed with the DTI-EMB any DTI Office, DTI attached agencies, or the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) abroad.

Copies of the aforementioned DTI DAO and the DTI Watchlist of Exporters and Foreign Buyers are available at and The ETCC and its secretariat may be contacted through this e-mail address:

The most common nature of export trade complaints received are non-delivery of a paid order, noncompliance with quality specification, non-refund of payment made for undelivered goods, and non-payment of delivery.

In 2019, the most common products subject of export trade complaints received were bananas, coconut products, consolidated food products, scrap metals, A4 Copy Papers, candies, and sculpture molds. Most parties to the complaints came from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia regions. ♦

Date of release: 27 September 2020