The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Export Marketing Bureau, Export Development Council (EDC) and Philippine Export Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT), celebrate 2016 National Exporters Congress with a theme dubbed as “Advancing SMEs through Inclusive Business: From Local to Global” at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City.

This year’s congress highlights the role of inclusive business model in providing access to domestic MSMEs to the global value chains (GVCs). DTI noted that with its thrust of providing more jobs and making entrepreneurship an effective tool in eradicating poverty across the country, inclusive business helps its agenda by allowing small businesses to be part of the GVCs.

“If more MSMEs are sustainably linked into the value chain of big businesses, we expect more jobs from the sector,” said DTI Industry Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

DTI, through its key initiatives and services, implements targeted interventions and support services to the export sector through the strategies laid out in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017. PEDP was developed through public-private initiative in 2014 and was signed in February 2016 through Memorandum Circular 91. The plan includes discussion of eight key strategies that address bottlenecks of the sector and provides comprehensive approaches in driving growth for Philippine exports.

“Through PEDP, our goal is not only to increase our total export revenues, and make Philippine products known in the global market but also to address constraints in export growth. As we do this, we expect to open more opportunities for employment and increase household income in the coming periods,” added Undersecretary Terrado.

Successful implementation of the strategies laid out in the PEDP 2015-2017 with a sustained target increase of 3% in 2016 and 5% in 2017, is expected to boost employment generation by 225,000 and 600,000 more jobs, respectively.

One of the key private partners of the government in catering to the needs of the export sector is the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT). PHILEXPORT has been pro-active in collaborating with government initiatives. It is present in 20 regions and provinces through its chapters. It assists its exporter members through various services such as policy advocacy, facilitation, information collection and dissemination and export-import documentation and capacity building. “By empowering manufacturers and their suppliers especially in the countryside, PHILEXPORT hopes to promote inclusive business and growth,” emphasized PHILEXPORT President and CEO Mr. Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.

Meanwhile, DTI Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) leads DTI in developing, promoting and expanding exports trade. It takes various initiatives in making government support services accessible to all domestic producers. It offers free information sessions on Philippines’ Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) through its Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTAs) info sessions and leads the implementation of Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP) that aims to increase productivity and competitiveness of exporters through seminars, outbound business missions, and business matching activities.

According to EMB, the growing number of SMEs operating in the country is seen by the government as a welcome development, a testament to the inclusive growth being experienced by various sectors. The government, the DTI in particular, has been at the forefront of efforts to harness the economic power of the country’s smaller, but numerous business entities.

For the past 17 months, Philippine exports experienced a decline due to the global economic slowdown. It was only in September 2016 when Philippine exports reflected an increase of 5.1% with total export sales from $4.9 billion in 2015 to $5.2 billion this year. Electronic products remained to be the top Philippine export while Japan maintained its spot as the top Philippine export destination.

“As we diversify our markets, and urge our exporters to innovate products and services, we are keen on having positive growth in the coming months,” said DTI EMB Director Senen M. Perlada.