“Enacting an effective strategic trade law will provide greater opportunities for the Philippines to increase investments in the manufacture, assembly, and export of strategic goods,” said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary, and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head, Ceferino S. Rodolfo.

The Strategic Trade Management Act (STMA), also known as Republic Act 10697, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in November last year. Among its key provisions is the creation of a Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO), an office under the administrative supervision of the DTI, which will be in charge of the registration of persons who intend to engage in trade of strategic goods as well as the issuance of licenses for the export, import, transit, transshipment re-export or reassignment of strategic goods.

Rodolfo said that the strategic trade legislation will provide manufacturers from electronics, chemical, and aerospace industries in the country vast opportunities to increase their production and exports of high-value strategic goods, either by expanding their operations or attracting new investors.

Strategic goods refer to products that, for security reasons or due to international agreements, require regulation and control. These include accelerometers that are components used in cell phones; carbon fiber used as a material in sporting goods; nitric acid, a chemical that is used in fertilizers; and triethanolamine, a chemical used in cosmetics.

The adoption and implementation of a STM Law complies with the Philippines’ foreign policy, national security interests, and commitment under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. The resolution obliges all members to develop and enforce appropriate legal and regulatory measures against the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and their means of delivery to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

“Facilitating secure and safe trade in strategic goods will also contribute in domestic efforts to counter terrorism, control crime, safeguard public safety, and increase revenue collection as smuggling and trade diversion will be substantially minimized,” said Rodolfo.

The DTI, together with the Anti-Terrorism Council and other relevant agencies, are currently crafting the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) which will be released by 1st semester of this year.

“We are certain that there will also be an increase in demand for highly skilled workers such as engineers and scientists,” added Rodolfo.  He said that the manufacture of strategic goods require people possessing technological know how and expertise.