THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged manufacturers to improve the quality of their products to compete in the global market in light of lower duties arising from various free trade agreements (FTAs) and preferential schemes. DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Agnes Legaspi, in a press release Friday, said that with the decrease in tariffs of most traded products, competition is no longer limited to who can offer the lowest price, but who can conform to or surpass the standards of international markets.
Legaspi pointed out the need for local firms to improve their products and at least be at par globally, particularly in markets covered by existing FTAs.
In a session on Doing Business in Free Trade Areas, Legaspi introduced the participants to different export windows like the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (EUGSP+) that offers up to zero tariffs on products from developing countries.
The Philippines has been a beneficiary of the EU-GSP+ since December 2014, allowing the country to ship 6,274 eligible products with duty-free access to the EU market, she said.
Other GSP arrangements also allow local products to tap big markets such as the United States and Canada at preferential duties.
To date, the Philippines enjoys memberships to FTAs, involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), as well as bilateral FTAs between Asean and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, the press release said.
The Philippines is also engaged in a bilateral trade deal with Japan, called the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
Trade agreements enable local goods enter various foreign markets, while also allowing foreign goods to compete in the domestic market, eating up significant market share given the Filipinos’ liking for imported products,” Legaspi said.
DTI is targeting eight to nine percent export growth this year following a 5.6 percent decline in 2015, she added. (EPN)