About 176 exhibitors from across the country gather together in this year’s Sandugo Trade Expo, a four-day marketing event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry.


“The Sandugo Trade Expo has already made a mark as one of the country’s most visited fairs,” DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida C. Maglaya said in her keynote message during the fair’s Opening Ceremonies.


Every year, the fair catches the attention of buyers and MSMEs from all over the country and has become part of the travel calendars of major buyers and exporters wanting to source their raw materials here.


“This is the first in 13 years that we have upscaled our provincial fair into a regional marketing event, that we have generated this much number of exhibitors, and there are still those who we could not accommodate,” Director Caberte said.


As in past years, the trade expo has assisted more than a hundred micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This year however, exhibitors have come all the way from CAR, Regions 1, 4A, 4B, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13.

“DTI 7 Regional Director with Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida C. Maglaya and Assistant Secretary Demphna Du Naga, during the opening of exhibits at the Sandugo Trade Expo 2018. (photo by Vierna Ligan)

DTI, IPOPHL offers trademark incentives for 1,000 MSMEs

From L to R: DTI Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, IPOPHIL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua, and Bureau of Trademarks Director Leny B. Raz during the signing of the extension of the Juana Make a Mark program.

Pampanga – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Intellectual Property of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is extending its Juana Make a Mark program that waives trademark application fees to 1,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Through the program, MSMEs can save up to Php 3,000 from waived basic filing, color claims, and first publication fees.

“Juana Make a Mark is part of our strategy to help the MSMEs be part of the local supply chain and eventually venture out to the global market,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

During the MSME Summit last July 10 in Clark, Pampanga, DTI and IPOPHL signed an extension to their original Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that expired last February 14. The program’s effectivity is extended to February 14, 2019, or until all applications have been availed.

In a press statement, IPOPHL Director Josephine R. Santiago said that “the success of the first round of the program shows MSMEs are realizing the significance of trademarks, and give them an edge in marketing their products.”

To qualify for the program, MSMEs must be:

  • Engaged in business activities considered as priority sectors by DTI and IPOPHL
  • Located in areas prone to natural disaster or facing social and economic challenges
  • Have business names registered by DTI
  • Have at most two (2) unregistered marks used on goods and services
  • Have no more than five (5) employees
  • Engaged in business for at least one (1) year or with limited financial capability or other similar conditions indicating inadequate financial capacity

The said priority sectors are as follows:

  • Agri-business: food and resource-based processing
  • Aerospace parts
  • Automotive and auto spare parts
  • Chemicals
  • Electronic manufacturing and semi-conductor manufacturing services
  • Construction
  • Design-oriented furniture and garments
  • Shipbuilding (RORO, small or medium-sized vessels)
  • IT and Business Process Management
  • Tool and Die
  • Tourism
  • Transport and Logistics

To apply, MSMEs must:

PH visit to South Korea raises USD 4.8B investment pledges, 50,800 jobs

SOUTH KOREA—The Philippine (PH) business delegation and South Korean counterparts signed a total of USD 4.8B-worth of investment pledges and business expansion intentions during the PH-Republic of Korea (ROK) Luncheon and Business Forum on 5 June 2018. These agreements are estimated to generate 50,800 employment opportunities in the country.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led the event signing, which gathered over 400 business delegates from both countries and comprising of new operators as well as subsidiaries of conglomerates operating in the country.

DTI reported that the 22 signed business agreements– six Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and 16 Letters of Intent (LOIs) — were presented to President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit in South Korea.  These are in addition to the five MOUs signed between the governments of the Philippines and South Korea.

The business agreements cover expansion intentions for operations on power infrastructure development (offering 2,200 jobs), engineering and construction (2,000 jobs), solar power (1,000 jobs), electric automobile business operations (10,000 jobs), wind power plant (10,000 jobs), dredging and port rehabilitation (100 jobs), freshwater eel production (50 jobs), and real estate development (1,500 jobs).

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez met with South Korean companies seeking to invest in the country. Investment pledges include automotive, public utility modernization, liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal-fired power, engineering, construction, sea offshore services, food, and aquaculture

Hyundai Motor Co. (HMC) expressed its intention to participate in the PUJ modernization program by providing environmental-friendly automobile technologies. HMC proposed a mid-term and long-term investment plan to construct an assembly plant in the country for passenger vehicles.

Meanwhile, SK Energy and Services is keen on investing in LNG and power infrastructure development and operation, as well as LNG trading. The company is also looking expanding its business activity on city-gas distribution in the country.

POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. intends to expand its operations in PH valued at USD 200 million and expected to generate over 2,000 jobs.

According to Sec. Lopez, the wide-range of business agreements also reflect small and medium enterprise (SME) assistance from South Korea.

Taeseong Kimchi Company expressed their plans to expand its kimchi food production in the country, which would open 20,000 employment opportunities. Further, the company will apply an inclusive business model that seeks to engage with local farmers from Benguet for its operations.

Other expansion intentions came from various South Korean companies, including BKS Energy Industry Ltd., Phillips Holdings Co. Ltd., SY ENC Co. Ltd., Jungheung Construction Co., Ltd., JS Development Co. Ltd., PNK Aquaculture and Trading, and Andamiro Corporation.

During the bilateral meeting between the two governments, discussions on the establishment of the Joint Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC) were opened as well as the possibility of a Preferential Trade Agreement for the lowering of South Korean tariffs on PH agricultural products.

Both governments also agreed on furthering agricultural, science and technology, as well as security cooperation.

Sec. Lopez, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol gave the business delegation a comprehensive economic and investment briefing. The Cabinet Secretaries provided actual figures and situationers of the country’s business environment.

“The Philippine government is committed in widening its trade engagements with other nations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s independent foreign policy. With the South Korean business community as our partner, we are confident of making progress with government initiatives like the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, and the thrust towards developing Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Four LOIs between South Korean companies and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) were signed, indicating collaborative efforts in rehabilitating and modernizing the economic zone through reclamation and initiatives related to fintech, blockchain technology education, tourism, gaming, and other related business activities.

“Our next goal now is to ensure that these investment pledges and job opportunities will materialize, and allow us share the economic gains of the country, especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid,” Sec. Lopez added.

On the MOUs signed, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and Philippines-Korea Economic Council (PHILKOREC) came up with an agreement with KBIZ for an exchange of information on commerce, industry, and trade opportunities focusing on small, medium enterprises. Likewise, PCCI inked an agreement with Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) for the promotion of trade, economic, scientific, technological cooperation, and other business relations.

In the field of die and mold industry, Philippine Die and Mold Association (PDMA) signed an MOU with Korea Association of Machinery Industry (KOAMI) to create a pool of manpower trained in die and mold designing, making, processing, assembly, and other related courses.

Meanwhile, South Korean’s DaeKyung Engineering Co., Ltd. sealed an MOU with Philippine Utility Vehicle Inc. (PhUV) for a joint development and promotion of green business in the country, as well as smart grid and electric vehicles. DaeKyung will also explore the co-development and co-assembly of the modern electric vehicle prototype by providing the powertrain and other parts.

DTI meets Azerbaijan Ambassador to discuss oil, food trade

From L to R: Consul a.h. of Azerbaijan in the Philippines Jose De Venecia III, Counsellor Ruslan Nasibov, Ambassador Tamerlan Garayev DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Undersecretary Nora Terrado, Director Ann Cabochan, and Director Angelica Cayas.


MAKATI—Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with Azerbaijan Ambassador Tamerlan Garayev last 31 May to discuss trade opportunities between Azerbaijan (AZ) and the Philippines (PH).

“Our meeting with Consul Garayev is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s strategy to seek out non-traditional trading partners. We see a lot complementation between our countries,” said Sec. Lopez.

PH is keen on exporting tropical fruits, like bananas and mangoes, to AZ. Exporting to the Eurasian country is also a boon for PH’s Halal industry, since its population is predominantly Muslim.

“Your country is famous for its mangoes,” said the Azerbaijan Ambassador who cited Jose Rizal as his childhood hero.

Meanwhile, PH sees AZ as an alternative source of fuel since oil and natural gas account for around 90 percent of Azerbaijan’s total exports. The country is also a transport hub for exports since it’s located near Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine.

With only a 10M population and a 6.2% Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Ambassador Garayev said that his country needs more manpower for its tourism and agriculture industries. Since there are only 300 Filipinos in AZ, Sec. Lopez suggested that Filipinos fill these vacancies.

Both countries want to mutually develop education and tourism by having student/ teacher exchange programs and tourism promotions. The two countries will form a Joint Economic Commission to further these talks beginning with possible government to government transactions.

Current trade balance between PH and AZ is in favor of PH due to exports of the following: electronics; electrical and electronic machinery; almonds, fresh or dried, shelled. Azerbaijan is PH’s 172nd trading partner (out of 223), and 153rd export market (out of 216), and 171st import source (out of 198).

Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service  Delivery Act: A gamechanger, says DTI

The Department of Trade and Industry expressed optimism that the newly-enacted Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 will make doing business in our country easier as it promotes efficient government.

“Under the EODB/Efficient Government Act, businesses can expect streamlined processes, reduced processing times from all government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).  Government agencies shall be made to comply with the prescribed processing time: three (3) working days for simple transactions, seven (7) working days for complex transactions, and 20 working days for highly technical transactions.” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

The EODB-EGSDA Act, which amended the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, requires all local government units to streamline procedures for the issuance of business permits, clearance and other type of authorizations by implementing unified business application form. LGUs are mandated to setup Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) to facilitate business permits application.  The law also provides that barangay clearances and permits must be issued at the city or municipality to speed up transactions.

Apart from streamlining, the law also provides for the creation of a Central Business Portal that will receive and capture application data on business-related transactions, while Philippine Business Databank shall provide LGUs and national government agencies access to information to verify validity and existence of businesses. With this, businesses are not required to submit the same documentary requirement previously submitted.

The DTI Secretary, who now chairs the Ease of Doing Business and Anti Red Tape Advisory Council (EODB/ARTAC) called RA 11032 a landmark legislation that will have a direct impact on all citizens and business sector.

“We realized that for the EODB reforms to be fully implemented and integrated, a whole-of-government approach was necessary. Thus in full support of the President’s vision, Congress enacted a law that will make doing business in the Philippines easier and more importantly, create a more efficient government.” Lopez added.

The EODB-EGSDA law will be implemented by the Anti-Red Tape Authority, an agency under the Office of the President that will monitor compliance of agencies, and implement and oversee national policy on anti-red tape and ease of doing business. The seven-member Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council will be composed of the Secretaries of DILG, DICT, and DOF, and two members from the private sector. The EODB/ARTAC will serve as the policy and advisory body of ARTA, to be chaired by DTI Secretary, and the Director General of the Anti Red Tape Authority (ARTA) as Vice Chair.

DTI launches expanded Shared Service Facility to strengthen footwear industry

MARIKINA – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez led the inauguration of the expanded Shared Service Facility (SSF) on high value custom-made footwear which features advanced technology and newly acquired state-of-the-art machineries in preparing customized footwear molds that would increase productivity of shoemakers.

“We need to equip our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs with modern machineries that would increase productivity with lesser cost in order to revive the footwear industry. Marikina has always been known for their shoes. And if we come together, government, private sector, and Filipino shoemakers with their unique craftsmanship, we can easily sell our products here and abroad,” said Sec. Lopez.

The trade chief also encouraged government personnel to support and choose local footwear. Likewise, DTI will push for policies and programs to have government agencies purchase locally-made shoes as well as bags, example for public school children.

Meanwhile, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro announced the city’s project to build a mall-type facility to feature all Filipino MSME products, specifically Marikina-made footwear.

DTI welcomed the proposed project and pledged its support to the local government through the Go Lokal! concept store.

“Having this kind of project will bring our efforts in marketing the products of our MSMEs to a higher level. From a pop up store to a mall of all-local and quality products will definitely help us strengthen the sector,” the trade chief said.

According to Sec. Lopez, the government will continue to support the footwear industry in a holistic manner through its 7Ms (Mindset change, Mastery, Mentoring, Market, Money, Machine, and Models) strategy.

“With our collective effort, we can make Marikina-made footwear known not just here in the Philippines. We will make our footwear compete globally,” said Sec. Lopez.

Aside from the expanded SSF, DTI also inaugurated the newly renovated and improved Philippine Footwear Academy building, which serves as a shoemaking skills training facility in Marikina.

Also present during the inauguration were Philippine Footwear Federation Inc (PFFI) President Lolito Lopez, PFFI Secretary General Roger Py, Philippine Chamber of Commerce Marikina President Jeanelle Lee, and DTI Assistant Secretaries Blesila Lantayona, Ameenah Fajardo, and Demphna Du-Naga