DTI pushed PH trade and investment initiatives in the 9th CAEXPO

Despite the challenging global economic situation, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) placed forward the Philippine trade and investment initiatives in the recent China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).

“The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and the Board of Investments concentrate on the institutional connectivity, which involves linking various international and regional agreements and protocols to facilitate international transactions of goods and services as well as the movement of natural persons across boarders,” DTI Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio said during the 9th CAEXPO.

The ASEAN connectivity masterplan, which was signed by the ASEAN leaders in October 2010 at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, paved the way to improve the region’s physical infrastructure, institutional and people-to-people connections.

“We intend to work with all relevant sectoral bodies to enhance coordination with the view of facilitating and ensuring the effective and timely implementation of the master plan of the ASEAN connectivity. We shall undertake more specific and targeted outreach and advocacy activities. And finally, we look forward to an institutionalized ASEAN Private-Public Partnership (PPP) development agenda that will focus on information-sharing on PPP regulations, technical support on infrastructure and project development and public-private sector engagement,” Panlilio said.

In the Philippines, the government launched its PPP, which recognizes the essential role of the private sector as the main engine for national growth and development.  To stimulate private resources for the purpose of financing construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure and development projects normally undertaken by the government, pertinent incentives were provided.

Panlilio also said that the government together with various multilateral organizations are working on establishing the Philippine Infrastructure Development Fund to provide a long-term fund structure to sustain and further promote PPP in the country.  Since its successful launch in late 2010, the PPP program has achieved considerable success.

“Another strategy that the Philippine government has adopted to push the infrastructure program of the Philippines is its inclusion in the 2012 Investment Priorities Plan,” Panlilio said.

The IPP is a list of specific economic activities wherein investments are to be encouraged for domestic and export market. It promotes the government mandate of creating jobs for the people and economic development through the grant of fiscal or monetary and non-fiscal incentives for investors with proposed activities deemed qualified for registration.

“The Philippines is strategically located in ASEAN and can be reached within 3 to 4 hours by plane. This strategy makes our country a prime location especially for export-oriented businesses,” Panlilio added.

In 2011, China is the Philippines’ third trading partner next to Japan and the US. Bilateral trade between the Philippines and China accounted to US$12.32 billion or 11.32 percent of the Philippines total external trade in 2011. Out of this, the country’s exports to China went up by 8.96 percent from US$5.72 billion in 2010 to US$6.24 billion in 2011 making China as the third largest export market. On the other hand, China ranked as the Philippines third largest supplier of imports in 2011.

In 2011, top Philippine exports to China consisted of equipment and parts of electrical and electronic machinery, which accounted US$776.76 billion or 12.45 percent of total export receipt; storage units, US$686.61 million or 11.01 percent; portable digital automatic data processing machines, US$660.17 million or 10.58 percent; nickel ores and concentrates, US$ 413.73 million or 6.63 percent; and semi-conductor devices, US$392.22 million or 6.29 percent.

The Philippines’ major imports from China consisted of parts of electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, liquefied petroleum gas, parts and accessories of automatic data processing machines, light petroleum oils, and other materials, accessories and supplies for the manufacture of semiconductor devices.

From January to June 2012, China ranked third as the Philippines’ top trading partner, as export market and as import supplier.

“More importantly, the Philippines offer access to the 500 million strong ASEAN market. This is very important given that in 2012 the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement on the common effective preferential tariff went down to 0.5 percent. I am sure you would like to capture the opportunities that this brings,” Panlilio said. (end)