DTI Conducts More Information Sessions on Free Trade Agreement

DTI conducts more information sessions on FTA The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is conducting this year more information education sessions on the free trade agreements (FTA) the Philippines entered into in the ASEAN to further increase its FTA utilization rate. “The result (ASEAN Secretariat data) was quiet encouraging, we have now increased our utilization of FTAs. We showed the highest improvement in the entire ASEAN community on the FTA utilization rate. So we are expanding this,” said DTI Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. Cristobal, during the culmination activities of the European Union-Philippines Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Programme 2, said the department will conduct 100 information seminars on preferential trade agreements this year from last year’s 75. “This is critical because the more we raise awareness about the FTA, then the more we get support, understanding for FTA,” he said. Latest data from the ASEAN Secretariat indicated that the Philippine FTA utilization rate more than doubled to 41.15 percent in 2010 from 20 percent in the 2008 survey of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Apart from the information seminars on the FTA, Cristobal said, the Philippines implemented several projects, including capacity building activities on the implementation of export development plan and on trade negotiations, through EU-assisted TRTA 2 program. The P435-million program supported the areas of trade policy and export development, standards conformity, food safety conformity and trade facilitation. Among its key achievements included the National Single Window to ease imports/exports, crafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) that was organized along the country’s international trade strategy and blueprint for new food safety. The program also helped the Philippines to maintain its fishery exports to Europe. Building on its success, the four-year TRTA 3 program will be launched later this year. The DTI will implement the project with a budget of 8.9 million euro. It will also include competition policy as an area of support. — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features

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