Local exporters learn of free trade area agreement benefits

Subscribe Now November 24, 2010 at 08:39am

Local exporters in the region learned yesterday (November 22) the many incentives they could possibly benefit from existing free trade agreements (FTA) between the Philippines and other countries.

After seeing the need to further spread the word on the merits of the FTA, the Department of Trade and Industry brings to Davao Region the FTA Information Campaign, Doing Business in Free Trade Areas. It was learned that the country is one of the lowest utilization rates of FTA. Local businessmen have not been making the most of the opportunities in the global markets that should have been embraced by them including the lower or zero tariffs.

DTI Undersecretary Merly Cruz bared that this setback resulted to our failure to reap the benefits that FTA would have offered.

Survey showed that Philippines only scored a 20 percent utilization rate. China has the highest utilization rate across the region with 45 percent.

"Partial figures that DTI has obtained from the BOC show Philippine utilization rates of not higher than 30 percent and sometimes as low as 1 percent," Cruz said.

FTAs serve as strategic tools that the country wields to promote economic interest. The government ensures that the negotiating position will secure balancing of interest and at the same time provide opportunities for equitable growth.

Figures showed that with the ASEAN Australia New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) which came into force January 2010, our exports to Australia were growing by 54 percent leading the 37 percent growth for total exports of the time.

The three North East Asian powerhouses (China, Japan, and Korea) were collectively the largest destination of the Philippines for the first five months this year. Exports grew to 42 percent of the total.

Source: pia.gov.ph

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