Strong industries, SMEs to advance country’s AEC integration


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) emphasized the need to strengthen Philippine industries and to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to integrate into global value chains.


Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba addressed some 200 stakeholders – including members of chambers of commerce, industry associations, representatives of local government units and agencies, and the academe – during the “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Game Plan: Roadmap Localization for Competitiveness” forum held recently in Tagaytay City.


The forum is a nationwide series of multi-stakeholder conferences to align national and regional plans for industrial growth. During the conference, DTI presents the country’s new industrial policy, potentials and challenges in the region, and focuses on key industries to ensure the localization of their respective roadmaps.


“Our task is to ensure that gaps in the agribusiness supply chain are securely filled-in, and our agribusiness policies enable stakeholders to engage in high-productivity and high-value production. To see the integration of SMEs in global value chains, we need to address supply chain gaps, increase collaboration between the public and private sectors, and foster the synergy among the academe, government, and industry,” Asec. Aldaba explained.


During the forum, industries based in the region presented their roadmaps. Rommel Gutierrez, President of Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) expressed support for the work of the DTI in strengthening the automotive industry, particularly with the recent issuance of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program. He said that auto parts makers in the country, most of which are small and medium enterprises, will greatly benefit from the implementation of the automotive roadmap and CARS. For his part, Dan Lachica, President of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) presented an update to the electronics industry roadmap reflecting current conditions in the global market. Lachica cited the partnership with the DTI as instrumental in facilitating discussions on power and other issues with relevant government agencies and resolving industry concerns.


The petrochemicals and IT-BPM industries presented their roadmaps as well. Homer Maranan, Executive Director of the Association of Petrochemical Manufacturers of the Philippines (APMP) reviewed the status of the petrochemicals industry roadmap, noting the commencement of the operations of the country’s first naphtha cracker located in Batangas.Raymond Lacdao, Executive Director of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) presented the current challenges and outlook of the industry and highlighted the association’s collaboration with state universities and colleges in providing training for potential employment in the IT and business processing industries.


Aside from the focus on local industries, the conference also covered the opportunities arising from theASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the country’s inclusion under the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences Plus (EU-GSP+). Trading across ASEAN borders at significantly reduced to zero tariffs has been in effect since 2010, following the signing of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). Meanwhile, the EU-GSP+ offers preferential tariff treatment for more than 6,000 Philippine products effective December 2014. A session on greening the manufacturing industry roadmaps was also included to stress the importance of incorporating green elements and processes to make local industries more sustainable and competitive.


Region IV or CALABARZON accounts for the second largest share in the country’s GDP, after the National Capital Region (NCR).


The DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) have conducted similar fora in the cities of Iloilo (Region VI), Cebu (Region VII), Davao (Region XI), and Baguio (CAR).