The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced to delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and Japan that the Philippines’ chemical industry has experienced a strong, sustained, and double digit growth of 16.5 percent in 2015, surpassing its 2014 growth rate of 4.9 percent.

Last month, Philippines hosted the 21st Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers-Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee’s (AMEICC) Working Group on Chemical Industry (WG-CI) to identify best practices in chemicals regulation as well as lock-in concrete interventions needed to address chemical safety issues and promote chemical safety management.

“We are encouraged by the sustainable progress of our domestic chemical industry. By continuously improving products and processes, we plan to further this growth to achievesustainable inclusive growth of the economy and generate quality jobs,” DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

The chemicals industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country with revenues reaching PHP 330 billion in 2009. It involves the manufacture of basic chemicals, rubber products, plastic products and other chemicals. The industry has extensive links with other industries including agriculture/agribusiness, automotive, cement, creative, construction, energy, fishing, health, housing, and pharmaceuticals industries.

“Our goal is to be more responsive to the growing consumer need for environment-friendly products. We are working closely with stakeholders, relevant agencies, and the private sector todevelop a stronger chemicals sector that thrives in the regional and global markets,” said Rodolfo.

Thru the leadership of the DTI and the BOI, the private sector crafted the Chemicals Industry Roadmap which pursues the creation of a wide range of higher value products that serve both domestic and global markets with the best customer value. It envisions the industry as a major player in the region by 2016 and a leading exporter by 2022.

Rodolfo added that engaging its key trading partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the world is also necessary to ensure that the government makes sound and effective policies and regulations to mobilize and support the chemicals industry.

The AMEICC is a body for policy consultations among ASEAN Member States and Japan to enhance industrial cooperation, improve ASEAN’s competitiveness, and develop cooperation assistance to the new member countries.

The 22nd Meeting of the AMEICC WG-CI will be held in Malaysia in April or May 2017.