27 August 2020

By John Derrick Anchinges | Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD) | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted modern human life on an unprecedented scale – effectively forcing a sweeping range of social and economic activities to grind to a screeching halt. The highly contagious virus triggered nearly 100 countries to impose exhaustive restrictions on the movement of people. In the Philippines, rigorous lockdown measures in the entire Luzon area were implemented in the form of “Enhanced Community Quarantine” (ECQ). Schools closed, mass gatherings were prohibited, transportation was suspended and employers – private, and the public – have adopted work-from-home schemes. This pandemic has undoubtedly shocked the entire supply chain to its core.

Philippine exports have suffered serious damage from the health crisis. According to Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) Director and Export Development Council (EDC) Executive Director Senen M. Perlada, goods exports may plummet down to US$51.2 billion this year, which is 4.0% less than last year’s yield of US$53.4 billion. This projection is based on the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s (DBCC) revised Macroeconomic Assumptions last 13 May 2020. The last time Philippine exports took a nosedive was in 2009 following the aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

Nevertheless, the Philippine government remains firm and resolute in addressing these extraordinary challenges. The DTI-EMB continues to play an indispensable role in empowering Philippine exporters by providing them the necessary platforms and tools that enable them to be part of the global supply chain. These services include, but are not limited to, trade facilitation, business matching, export accreditation, trade complaints handling, market consultancy, and knowledge processing.

The business matching service, in particular, helps both Philippine exporters and overseas companies who are interested in doing business with local suppliers. The Bureau continues to work closely with trade associations, Philippine Embassies, and Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) overseas to ensure that trade leads and business-matching opportunities are made readily available to its clients and partners especially now.

In fact, DTI-EMB has facilitated 256 Trade Opportunity Reports (TORs) – business matching requests from foreign buyers – in the first semester of 2020, marking a 19.6% increase compared to 214 TORs during last year’s first half despite the ongoing pandemic. Demands abroad for locally manufactured medical supplies such as face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical apparel, etc. have also increased dramatically.

Meanwhile, coconut, personal care products, handicrafts, and fresh fruits and vegetables remain to be the top requested commodities. In terms of markets, the United States of America (USA) and China stood as the top sources of TORs leading the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, and Singapore.

As part of the bureau’s digital transformation efforts, it is gearing up its online services by continuously enhancing the Tradeline and engaging online platforms to further help and reach its stakeholders.

DTI-EMB will continue to advance the competitiveness of Philippine exports and provide professional guidance to its stakeholders in navigating the vast and intricate network of businesses across global markets and break new grounds internationally. The bureau continues to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by equipping them with the requisite export knowledge and entrepreneurial insights to ensure that Philippine commodities are of first-class quality and comply with the necessary international standards and certifications.

Now, whether you are an overseas company looking to establish business relations with Philippine suppliers or a local exporter searching for buyers or clients abroad, DTI-EMB has you covered. To be part of the Bureau’s business matching directory of local exporters and foreign buyers, DTI-EMB invites you to visit the business matching component of Tradeline Philippines and register your company at www.businessmatching.dti.gov.ph. Tradeline Philippines is a trade intelligence platform of the DTI-EMB that boasts of a real-time business-matching system where foreign buyers’ requirements are matched with Philippine suppliers online. The website equips the Bureau with the essential apparatus to maintain an integrated export intelligence structure that covers all dimensions of export marketing. To get more trade-related information and online trade statistics, please visit www.tradeline.dti.gov.ph.

For export concerns and business-matching opportunities, exporters may contact DTI-EMB thru exponet@dti.gov.ph and exportmatching@dti.gov.ph.