The Philippines was named the most improved country in the 2021/2022 Peddling Peril Index (PPI) of countries implementing strategic trade regulations. The Philippines’ ranking increased by 273 points from 482 points the previous year to 755 points, moving up from 86th place in 2020 to 49th place in 2021.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez reported that “PPI rates 200 nations based on their strategic trade control adoption and implementation, with the goal of assisting countries in strengthening their systems by examining the degree of their implementation and enforcement, as well as tracking their progress over time.”

“The marked improvement in implementing strategic trade control laws is, to a large extent, due to the support extended by the Office of the President through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong for their able leadership as Chair and alternate Chair of the National Security Council – Strategic Trade Management Committee (NSC-STMCom),” Lopez added.

Strategic goods are items with civilian and military applications, and many of these goods can be used as materials or parts of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Various countries have enacted strategic trade control laws  in compliance with their obligation in numerous treaties and international agreements to prevent the proliferation of WMDs. The Philippines, for its part, enacted Republic Act No. 10697, also known as the Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA).

The STMA established the National Security Council – Strategic Trade Management Committee (NSC-STMCom) as the government’s policy-making body on strategic trade matters. The STMA also created the Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) as the agency mandated to register, issue or deny authorizations, undertake risk assessments, and conduct investigations, on matters pertaining to the cross border trade in strategic goods.

Enterprises engaged in the export, re-export, reassignment, transit, transshipment, and import of strategic goods, as well as related services such as brokering, transporting financing and providing technical assistance, are subject to the regulatory requirements of the STMA.

Five super criteria and 105 sub-criteria or indicators make up the PPI. These are: (1) International commitment to preventing strategic commodity trafficking; (2) legislation to regulate and oversee strategic commodity trade; (3) ability to monitor and detect strategic trade; (4) ability to prevent proliferation financing; and (5) effectiveness of enforcement against strategic commodity trafficking.

The Philippines achieved more than 50% of the total possible points in four super criteria: 87% (174 out of 200) in legislation, 71% (282 out of 400) inadequacy of enforcement, 65% (129 out of 200) inability to monitor and detect strategic trade, and 58% (58 out of 100) in international commitment.

While it achieved only 28% (113 of 400) of its capacity to prevent proliferation financing, this was also the criterion with the highest increase in score. This can be attributed to STMO’s issuance of guidelines to comply with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), on the Implementation of Financing and Brokering. The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) also issued targeted financial sanctions (TFS) related to proliferation of WMD and proliferation financing, effective 01 February 2021.

Dr. Ceferino S. Rodolfo, Undersecretary for the Industry Development and Trade Policy Group (IDTPG), also thanked Congress for passing one of the world’s most comprehensive strategic trade control legislation as this enabled us to adopt a whole-of-government approach to ensuring that strategic goods trade is used for legitimate purposes only and not diverted to WMD proliferators.

Dr. Rodolfo added, “the Philippines’ strong improvement in the PPI ranking is likely to boost the country’s image as a secure investment location for the manufacture and export of strategic goods.”

The PPI is run by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose main goal is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology. ♦

Date of Release: 22 October 2021