The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) wants to further expand export markets through free trade agreements (FTAs) and a generalized system of preferences (GSP), while the country’s production capacities continue to increase to meet domestic and foreign demand.
Philippine products will be sold with zero duty in other countries under FTAs, and in the United States and European Union markets under GSP, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“This will encourage foreign investors to locate in the Philippines because when they manufacture here, they can benefit in exporting [these goods at] zero duty to other countries,” he said.
Lopez said the country is still working on FTAs with South Korea, India and Canada. “We can further enhance economic cooperation with India,” he said. “We have an FTA with Japan as well as countries from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).” EFTA member-states are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The Philippines has preferential trade agreements with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Lopez cited electronic products wherein all countries in the region are part of the value chain.
“They are developing stage by stage when it comes to electronics. All are trying to improve their portion to increase the value of the respective parts so we are also doing the same,” he said.
“Right now, even in aerospace parts, we are doing it in Batangas, we are doing more of the designs now, meaning higher value in aerospace parts. Very technical and very high tech.”
The DTI chief also said the country is working to empower production capacities to capture demand.
According to Lopez, strategies intended to boost production capacities include accelerating investment in sectors that provide for basic necessities, support 4th Industrial Revolution and generate high value-job creation; intensifying implementation and widening coverage of supplier development programs; encouraging digital transformation; supporting businesses to provide necessities in the new normal; and promoting Philippine high-value exports of products and services.