MANILA-- The Philippines has introduced nine reforms from 2015 to 2016 to help its merchandise and services trade grow.
In an annual report, World Trade Organization(WTO) Director General Roberto AzevA�do from 2015 to 2016, the Philippines initiated four policies to facilitate trade in goods.
The policies are temporary reduction of import tariffs on certain products such as frozen poultry cuts and offal, frozen turkey cuts and offal, pig and poultry fat, peas, walnuts, fresh grapes, rape or colza seeds, certain oil seeds, rape, colza or mustard oil and fractions, and prepared or preserved turkey meat;
temporary import ban on rice and elimination of import quota on rice;
thePhp 27-billion Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program; and
thePhp 3.14-billion aid scheme for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) and manufacturing sector.
But the government has introduced more trade measures to improve flow of services, particularly in areas of financial services, maritime transport services, information communication and technology, and services supplied through the movement of natural persons.
These measures to facilitate trade in services introduced by the government include:
ogradual lifting of the ban on the grant of licenses for the establishment of new banks;
oenacting of Republic Act No. 10668 that allows foreign vessels to transport and co-load foreign cargoes for domestic transshipment;
ocreation of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing and administrative entity of the government, which is tasked to plan, develop, and promote the national ICT development agenda;
oamending the R.A. No. 10881 that lifted the foreign ownership restrictions in financial industries; and
oexemption from documentary and process requirements of the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) among foreign intra-corporate transferees holding executive, managerial or specialist positions who have previously been employed by the sending company abroad for at least one year, as well as contractual service suppliers who are managers, executives of specialists employed by a foreign services supplier without a commercial presence in the Philippines.
According to the report, WTO members have implemented 216 new trade-facilitating measures or an average of 18 measures per month from mid-October 2015 to mid-October 2016.
These policies counter the 182 new trade-restrictive measures or an average of 15 measures per month in the same period.
"Trade restrictive measures can have a chilling effect on trade flows, with knock-on effects for economic growth and job creation. In the context of a challenging economic scenario, it is more important than ever that WTO members adopt policies which will support trade and ensure that its benefits reach as many people as possible," AzevA�do said.
Source: Philippines News Agency