Of new beginnings and innovation
Business Mirror
May 10, 2016

WE are on the verge of a new beginning. As the nation welcomes the new administration, we, at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall stay focused and motivated to do the work that has been entrusted to us. We shall continue to provide an enabling environment to businesses and to empower the Filipino consumers.

With full optimism, we hope to provide information that will serve the interests of the Philippine exporting community. Aside from helping local exporters to grow more competitively, the page also aspires to encourage more micro, small and medium enterprises to participate in the global value chain (GVC).

Over the last decades, the global production landscape has witnessed significant changes, with GVCs becoming a dominant feature of international trade. GVCs entail the process of producing goods from raw materials to finished products being carried out wherever the necessary skills and materials are available at competitive cost and quality. With the emergence of GVCs, goods must now cross borders several times, first as inputs and then as final products. Our goal is to deepen our participation in GVCs.

To succeed in international markets, countries must have both the capacity to export and import world-class inputs. In a GVC world, the view that exports are good, and imports are bad and that market access is a concession in exchange for access to a partner?s market is clearly self-defeating. Successful participation would depend on factors, such as resource endowments, infrastructure, skilled labor, human capital, innovation and other relevant domestic policies that our new industrial policy espouses. Both trade policy and complementary industrial policies are necessary for capturing value and upgrading within these value chains to ensure inclusive, and sustainable growth and employment.

Exports play a vital role in the nation?s economy. We have seen how it has shaped the country?s economic direction and brought it to a brighter era. Latest data from the World Bank showed that exports of goods and services comprised 28.7 percent of our GDP in 2014. Moreover, the Philippines was ranked the 39th largest economy in the world and is touted as an emerging market in the 2016 International Monetary Fund records. With this, the export industry is challenged to maintain the necessary momentum to drive the country to a higher and more rapid growth path.

Innovation is among the eight strategies identified in the 2015-2017 Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) to help domestic industries establish their niches in regional and global markets and expand the country?s participation in GVCs. While there is a wealth of technological advances that local exporters can tap, they are hindered because of gaps in the flow of knowledge and information among industries, universities and public-research institutions.

Systemic failures that undermine the capacity of industries to innovate are another concern together with the mismatches between basic research in the public sector and academia and industry?s need for more applied research. Raising the effectiveness of technology transfer institutions, and providing incentives for collaborative research and technology development among firms and with public research institutions are also areas of concern that government has to resolve in partnership with the private sector.

Together with the implementation of the other strategies laid out in the current PEDP, the government hopes to attain the elusive $100-billion export target by the end of the cycle. Under the PEDP, exports are projected to grow between 6.6 percent and 8.8 percent this year, and between 7.7 percent and 10.6 percent next year. The growth targets translate to additional export revenues of $5.2 billion to $8.8 billion in 2016 and $8.5 billion to $15.5 billion in 2017.

Aligned with the ultimate goal of the government to reduce poverty, the PEDP aims to provide from 800,000 to 1.4 million job opportunities this year, and between 1.2 million and 2.3 million next year. The estimated additional employment opportunities over the planning period is between 500,000 and 2.8 million.

In keeping with the innovation agenda for the export sector, the DTI is implementing programs that will help develop and promote it. Recently, DTI launched SlingShot, a program that aims to support start-ups in the country by providing an enabling environment that will encourage and nurture new enteprises and innovative businesses. Another program is the provision of a coworking space for start-ups at the DTI International Building where the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) is located. This complements the establishment of two other workspaces in Intramuros and Marikina, where the Center for Innovation and Technology Enterprise, formerly the Cottage Industry Technology Center, is housed.

People and administrations, for that matter, may come and go, but the agency will continue to do what it ought to do. Information technology will continue to serve generations beyond administrations. The agency embraces new beginnings and innovations.?

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