Officials and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Korea Trade Network (KTNET) and InterCommerce attended the signing of the Record of Discussions of the Origin Management System for the Promotion of FTAs in the Philippines held on 29 November 2023 in Makati City

The Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) gears up for the development and the implementation of the “Origin Management System for the Promotion of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in the Philippines” Project.

The signing of the Record of Discussions (ROD) for the implementation of the Project was held on 29 November 2023 at the DTI International Building marked as the official commencement of the Project.

DTI Undersecretary for Industry Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Group (IDTIPG), Dr. Ceferino S. Rodolfo highlighted that the “Origin Management System for Promoting FTA ” is a vital tool for the Philippines to optimize the Philippines-South Korea FTA and all other Philippine FTAs and preferential trade arrangements.

“The best time to prepare for an FTA’s entry into force is before it is even implemented or while it is being negotiated. This is the reason why, even ahead of the entry into force of the agreement, we have been intensely working with key stakeholders – from business associations, local government units and workers’ groups, among others, to ensure that we are able to realize the potential benefits from the very first year of the Philippines-Korea FTA implementation. With this, the DTI aims to replicate the experience with the Philippines-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) FTA where the Philippines was able to reverse the phenomenal trade deficit with EFTA in the first year of implementation,” Undersecretary Rodolfo expounded.

“This is the first time we have undertaken such a project – mainstreaming the use of technology and digital services to make exporting and availment of FTAs more accessible to Philippine exporters. We are grateful to the Korean government for funding this Project,” Undersecretary Rodolfo added.

This is also the first project embarked on by the KIAT outside of Korea and is a milestone achievement based on a stronger Philippines-Korea partnership

The project aims to enhance the international competitiveness of Philippine micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), increase the utilization of existing Philippine FTAs and preferential trade arrangements, and reduce the time and costs of Philippine manufacturers and traders to comply with rules of origin requirements of FTAs and Generalized System of Preferences (GSPs).

Key features of the Project include the development of an Origin Management System which will enable exporters to determine whether its export product qualifies under the respective ROO requirements of FTAs/GSPs by inputting relevant information in the platform; and an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled HS classification tool that will enable exporters to determine the appropriate HS code/s for their product/s.

The project will run for 30 months, from July 2023 until December 2025. The Korea Trade Network (KTNET), Korean government’s designated trade automation business service provider, will serve as the implementing consortium for this project. On the other hand, the DTI- Export Marketing Bureau will serve as the implementing lead for the Philippines side.

Details of the Project will be presented during the 2023 National Export Congress on 07 December 2023 at the Sheraton Manila Hotel, Pasay City. ♦