DBFTA goes to Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya

The Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held series of seminars on Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) and Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSPs) on June 15 & 16, 2016, in Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, respectively. The DBFTA program is an initiative which aims to increase the awareness of Filipinos regarding the benefits of free trade agreements (FTAs) and GSPs.

Participants, which included exporters, would-be exporters, businessmen, government agencies, local government units, faculty members, and media men, attended the seminars to learn more about the export opportunities in the EU, US, Canada, and other FTA trading partners of the Philippines.

Discussions focused on agricultural products considering that both Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya are landlocked provinces. Both provinces have numerous opportunities of exporting agri-food products since the Philippines’ largest exports to the world comprise of fresh and processed foods, alongside electronics and parts of vessels and airplanes. At present, worldwide consumer trends are leaning towards health and wellness, uniqueness and individualism, and convenience.

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Aklan opens 2 more Negosyo Centers

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Aklan Provincial Office will launch its second and third Negosyo Centers in Aklan, particularly in the municipalities of Ibajay and Altavas on June 27 and 28, 2016, respectively, as the agency intensifies further its bid in assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The launching of these Negosyo Centers will be highlighted by the “NegoCart”, a special component of the Negosyo Center which will showcase different products of each municipality.

The establishment of the new Negosyo Centers is through the coordination and partnership of DTI Aklan with the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Ibajay and Altavas, and the PSMED Council.

FTEB inspects hardware stores

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) strengthened its enforcement activities for construction materials last week and inspected 50 hardware stores in Quezon City, Caloocan City, Parañaque City, and Muntinlupa City of the National Capital Region (NCR).

The DTI-FTEB enforcement teams inspected and verified on the required labels of certain construction materials that are under the List of Philippine National Standards (PNS) for mandatory product certification of the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS). These construction materials include Black iron (BI) and galvanized iron (GI) steel pipe; Portland cement; Pozzolan cement; Deformed steel bar; Equal-leg angle bar; Polybutylene (PB) pipe; Polyethylene (PE) pipe for potable water supply; Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) pipe for potable water supply; PVC rigid electrical conduit; PVC-U pipe for drain waste and vent; Rerolled steel bar; Sanitary ware; and, Low-carbon steel wire.

In Muntinlupa City, the New Sankim Construction Supply was found with 278 pieces of underweight steel bars and equal leg angle bars. On the other hand, the Tunasan Hardware was found selling 188 pieces of equal leg angle bars without appropriate markings; while the Ekasy Construction Supply was found selling 273 pieces of steel bars and equal leg angle with no brand and no indication of grade and length. The stores were not able to show either a Philippine Standard (PS) license Commodity Clearance (ICC) clearance for said products.

In Caloocan City, the Innie Construction Supplies was selling three (3) pieces of underweight steel bars. The DTI-FTEB enforcement teams sealed a total of 742 pieces of steel bars and equal leg angle bars with a total value of almost P200,000.00 from the said four (4) hardware stores that do not comply with the provisions of the Republic Act (R. A.) 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines and the R. A. 4109 or the Standards Law.

Tool and die mold scholars start training

The DTI-BOI together with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) and the Philippine Die and Mold Association, Inc. (PDMA) welcomed its third batch of trained tool die and mold scholars during a ceremony held earlier this month in Taguig City.

According to DTI-BOI, the tool and die industries is a skill-intensive and technology-dependent sector, and to remain competitive, die and mould makers have to learn the ever-changing technologies in design and manufacturing. Its products include dies (simple, compound and progressive), molds (for forging, plastics injection or blow molding, die casting, glass blow molding) and tools (e.g. jigs and fixtures) used for cutting and shaping different materials.

This capacity-building initiative is under the “Enhancing Tool and Die Industry Competitiveness by Expanding the Pool of Trained and Highly Skilled Die and Mold Designer and Makers” or the D2M2 Project is identified in the Tool and Die Industry Roadmap. The roadmap outlines strategies in the short-run (2015-2016), such as Manpower Improvement, Technology Upgrade and Modernization, and Indigenous Sourcing of Critical Materials.

FTEB enforced standards for construction materials

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) strengthened its enforcement activities for construction materials last week and inspected 50 hardware stores in Quezon City, Caloocan City, Parañaque City, and Muntinlupa City of the National Capital Region (NCR).

The DTI-FTEB enforcement teams inspected and verified on the required labels of certain construction materials that are under the List of Philippine National Standards (PNS) for mandatory product certification of the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS). These construction materials include Black iron (BI) and galvanized iron (GI) steel pipe; Portland cement; Pozzolan cement; Deformed steel bar; Equal-leg angle bar; Polybutylene (PB) pipe; Polyethylene (PE) pipe for potable water supply; Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) pipe for potable water supply; PVC rigid electrical conduit; PVC-U pipe for drain waste and vent; Rerolled steel bar; Sanitary ware; and, Low-carbon steel wire.

DTI and DA agrees to improve EODB

The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) DTI Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala for the two agencies to jointly facilitate business permits, licenses, and endorsements involving investors applying for registration with the Board of Investments (BOI).

DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said that the MOA is expected to improve ease of doing business in the country. “To benefit fully from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and global market access, it is important that we offer a conducive environment to investors, a place where they could quickly set up their business. An important first step is to make it easy for them to comply with government requirements,” he said.

 According to Rodolfo, simplifying business processes, coupled with the implementation of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS), is keyto the development of the agriculture sector which needs to modernize for it to be globally competitive. The CNIS links the manufacturing sector with agriculture and services sectors to mutually reinforce a virtuous cycle of growth.

BOI spearheaded roadmap localization workshop in Region 8

BOI together with the DTI Regional Office in Eastern Visayas, is capacitating the region’s various industry players, businesses, local government units and agencies, and concerned stakeholders in a regional conference today (June 22, 2016) in crafting their localized version of national industry roadmaps and achieve further growth and competitiveness.

Dubbed as “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Gameplan: Roadmaps Localization for Competitiveness”, the regional conference aims to build the capacities of local industries and stakeholders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in crafting their localized industry roadmaps aligned with the national industry roadmaps.  The conference also aims to discuss the economic opportunities and potentials for local industries and sectors in the Eastern Visayas region and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) already in place.

At the regional conference, BOI Resource-based Industries Service Division Chief Sandra Marie Recolizado discussed the proposed Ecological Industrial Zone in Leyte, a project under the Copper Industry Roadmap which aims to promote the integrated development and competitiveness of copper and other industries in the context of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the region and thus promote sustainable local employment.  The proposed industrial zone also aims to promote industry clustering to reduce businesses’ logistics costs and ensure reliable supply of power.  Leyte has one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the Visayas region.

Conservation and protection of the environment is a major focus of the project, hence the concept of an ecological industrial zone instead of a regular industrial zone.  The proposed ecological industrial zone itself provides services for waste management and recycling. It also takes into consideration climate change risks, thus the zone’s buildings and roads will be designed to be much resilient against disasters and calamities. A plan to have an underground electrication for the zone is also being considered.

It is expected to house potential locators in the field of copper wire rod casting facility, downstream copper industry such as but not limited to copper wire producers, major industrial concerns that need power and port facilities such as steel, copper-using industries, and other business activities identified by industry that may support the economic rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas such as garments.

Leyte is home to the copper smelting and refining operations of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR). The company is currently operating within the 425-hectare Leyte Industrial Development Estate in Isabel, Leyte.  PASAR is the country’s only copper smelting and refining firm and is one of the biggest in Asia. The copper cathodes used in the manufacture of electronics that are produced by PASAR are among the top 10 export products of the country.

The localization of roadmaps in the Eastern Visayas Region also focused on processed marine, and meat products, and natural health products—the dominantly thriving and potential industries in the region which can be aligned and linked with the national industry roadmaps.  Presenting the industry situations on these sectors are resource persons from the private and government namely: Clarita Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation Inc. on processed marine products; Francis Penaflor, BOI Sectoral Champion for Processed Meat on processed meat; and Joracio Abelarde, Chairman Emeritus of the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines, Inc.

“Now that we have the Industry Roadmapping Program in place, we must seize opportunities with government acting as facilitator and coordinating with industry stakeholders in crafting the regional industry cluster roadmaps. These industry roadmaps will allow MSMEs to move up the value chain and actively participate in the vast AEC market,” said DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba who also discussed the Philippine’s New Industrial Policy for More Competitive Regional Economies during the multi-sector regional conference.

Assistant Secretary Aldaba also challenged the region’s stakeholders to formulate industry roadmaps to create more high productivity jobs which are vital to reduce poverty, speed up rehabilitation efforts, and transform the regional economy.

Aside from Assistant Secretary Aldaba and the resource persons for the sectors identified, the other presenters and their topics in the conference include Dr. Cielito Habito, Chief of Party of the USAID TRADE Project on Regional Integration and the National Development Agenda on regional integration and the national development agenda; Victoria Antonio, Senior Advisor of GTZ-Promotion of Green Economic Development on Greening the Industry Roadmaps; and Meylene Rosales, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 8 Division Chief for Policy Planning and Formulation on behalf of Atty. Bonifacio Uy, Regional Director of NEDA Region 8 on the potentials and challenges in the region.

The Industry Roadmapping Program is the BOI’s program in partnership with various industries and sectors in the development and implementation of industry roadmaps.   An Industry Roadmap assesses an industry’s performance, opportunities, and challenges, outlines the vision, goals and objectives, strategies, timelines, and various interventions it needs to be globally-competitive. The roadmaps are crafted and implemented by the industry players themselves with the guidance of the BOI as well as other government agencies.  To date, there are already 40 sectoral roadmaps submitted to the BOI. Of the 40, 32 roadmaps have been completed and are currently being implemented or for implementation, while the rest are still subject to enhancement/finalization.

 Through regional conferences, the BOI is going around the country since last year to encourage localization of roadmaps in the regions especially those industries that are dominant or thriving in the area and its alignment and linkage with the national industry roadmaps.   BOI, in coordination with the DTI regional offices, conducted nine regional conferences in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Tagaytay, Pampanga, Zamboanga, Palawan and Naga last year.  Early this year, regional conferences for the Ilocos Region were held in La Union and in Tugegarao for the Cagayan Valley Region.  The last leg will be held next month in Butuan for the Caraga region.