To mobilize, support, integrate, and harmonize public-private efforts towards taking full advantage of trade opportunities under the Philippines’ trade agreements, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 4-A, in partnership with the European Union- Trade Related Technical Assistance (EU-TRTA) Project 3, conducted the ASEAN/European Union-General System of Preferences Multistakeholder Briefing on 18 January 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Hotel, Ortigas, Quezon City.
The activity aimed to increase awareness and promote proper understanding of the ASEAN Economic Community and the Philippine-Europe strategy among stakeholders. The briefing, which highlighted MSMES featured in the 2016 Paris SIAL International Food exhibition, was participated by CALABARZON micro, small, and medium enterprises, local media from the region, and the DTI beat reporters.
Team Leader and Key Expert of the EU-TRTA 3 Dr. Florian A. Alburo mentioned in his opening message that the project is intended to support the country in integrating into the global and regional trade and investment system. It provides support to the Philippine government to help them understand what is going on in terms of accessing the world market.
“The Philippines has yet to fully be ready for the global markets. Because it is an archipelagic country, it does not have a full appreciation of borders unlike its neighboring countries. What we need to know is that there are lots of opportunities for trade upon crossing borders,” Dr. Alburo said.
According to Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen M. Perlada, participating in Fair Trade Agreements (FTAs) can maintain competitiveness, promote cross-border complementation, sustain inflow of investments, and provide mutual support on issues of common interest.
“CALABARZON is rich in agro-based goods, automotive products, electronics and electrical goods, fisheries, wood-based products, healthcare services, logistics services, and tourism, which are the Priority Integration Sectors (PIS) Goods Sector and PIS Services Sector. ASEAN plans to promote the goods and services industries as an integrated economy versus the rest of the world,” discussed Director Perlada.
DTI CALABARZON Director Marilou Q. Toledo emphasized that the MSMEs have a very important role in the global value chain. The passion and creativity should be there so that local products will be acceptable and competitive in the global market.
“CALABARZON has the biggest population in the country and is the number one contributor in manufacturing and number two contributor in agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product. The region has so much resources and human resources. We only need to look at these opportunities and push ourselves to work harder,” said Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya during her closing remarks.
Some of the highlights of the program included testimonials from Cocoplus Aquarian Development Corporation, Pasciolo Agri-ventures, and Association of Laguna Food Processors (ALAFOP).♦