DTI welcomes PH honorary consuls from Europe

The Department of Trade and Industry welcomed twenty (20) Philippine Honorary Consuls based in Europe through a Philippine Trade and Investment briefing, in support of the Honorary Consuls’ trade and investment promotional efforts in Europe, held on 8 February 2018 in BDO North Tower, Makati City.


The briefing, organized in collaboration with Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Berlin, Board of Investments (BOI), DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and supported by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), European Union Delegation to the Philippines, German Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc., (GPCCI) and EU-Philippines Business Network (EPBN), provided an overview of Philippine economic landscape, including trade and investment opportunities between the Philippines and Europe.

DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado together with Mr. Edward Wenceslao, Senior Vice President and Group Head for International Desks of BDO Unibank, welcomed the Honorary Consuls.

“Europe is a strong economic partner of the Philippines. In the first quarter of 2017, EU investment share in the Philippines stands at 45% of the total foreign approved investments. Philippine goods exported to EU also grew by 31% amounting to $8.4 billion in 2017,” shared DTI Undersecretary Terrado during her welcome remarks.

Among European countries, Germany is the Philippines’ largest trading partner, followed by Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Ireland and Austria.

The twenty (20) Philippine Honorary Consuls are in the Philippines to join the Familiarization Tour being organized by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and initiated by former Philippine Ambassador to Germany, H.E. Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, Philippine Ambassador to Paris, H.E. Ma. Theresa Lazaro, and Philippine Embassy in Oslo.

In photo: The 20 Philippine Honorary Consuls from Europe (Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, France, Albania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria) with Philippine Ambassador Millie Sta. Maria-Thomeczek (seated, 4th from L), DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado (5th from L), Board of Investments International Investments Promotion Service (IIPS) Director Angelica Cayas (6th from L), DTI-EMB Director Senen Perlada (3rd from R), EU Delegation to the Philippines Economic and Trade Section Head Mr. Walter Van Hattum (standing, 7th from R), PCCI President Alegria Sibal-Limjoco (seated, 2nd from right) and BDO Senior Vice-President and Group Head for International Desks Mr. Edward Wenceslao (seated, 2nd from left).

DTI-assisted exporters join trade fair in Germany

THE Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) is leading Philippine exporters who underwent training and assistance under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (RIPPLES) Plus program at one of the largest trade events in Germany, the Ambiente 2018, from February 9 to 13.

The Philippine country pavilion will highlight Lifestyle Philippines, the country’s umbrella brand featuring high-quality and world-class designed lifestyle products with the theme, “Sustainability through Design.” Philippine exhibitors are expected to feature aesthetically appealing yet sustainable products inspired by plants and other natural resources abundant in the country.

Participating RIPPLES Plus-assisted companies include Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation, Red Slab Pottery and PumicUnlimited Ventures. These companies are among participating Filipino exhibitors that will showcase products under the trade fair’s three categories: Dining, Giving, and Living.

Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation and Celestial Arts were qualified for the Dining category. Meanwhile, GSG Paper is in the Giving category for their handmade and vibrant products that fit in the group’s varied gift selection.

Red Slab Pottery, Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Tadeco Home Décor, PumiceUnlimited Ventures, 33 Point 3, Arden Classic, Chanalli, Finali Furniture & Home Accessories, Freden Export, Larone Crafts and Nature’s Legacy are all under the Living category’s home interiors and design collection.

RIPPLES Plus is a program developed by DTI-EMB that assists emerging micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in various export-related needs including development of their products and services through strategic interventions such as trainings and capacity building; investment, marketing and promotions, support for innovation, product development and design; and market access facilitation through Mutual Recognition Arrangements and certifications. These interventions or modes of assistance ensure competency of Philippine companies to become export-ready.

RIPPLES Plus also works toward increasing the number of internationally competitive Philippine product and services that will help in driving the country’s economic growth.

The Philippines’ Ambiente 2018 participation is organized by the DTI’s Center for International Trade Exhibition and Missions (CITEM), in partnership with Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Berlin (PTIC-Berlin) and DTI-EMB.

Ambiente is the leading international trade fair for consumer goods held in Messe Frankfurt, Germany. Table settings, kitchen accessories and household products take the spotlight in the show. Gifts, interior trends and home concepts are also showcased.

DTI and PLDT collaborate to digitize business

08 February 2018 Manila – The Go Negosyo center of the Department of Trade and Industry and PLDT Enterprise partner to launch “A Growing Collaboration for the Filipino”, on February 12, 2018 at the Isabela Ballroom B & C, Makati Shangri-la Hotel. The event will promote the use of digital tools that will enable entrepreneurs to have a wider reach through a nationwide marketplace, providing wider market access for MSMEs across the country.

The event will also launch PLDT’s PayMaya, the first prepaid online payment app that enables the financially underserved to pay online without a credit card. Demonstrating how PayMaya works is a Go Lokal! pop up exhibit during the event where guests can buy Go Lokal! products via PayMaya.

Go Lokal! is a retail concept store which showcases high quality, innovative Philippine products designed, crafted and manufactured by the country’s MSMEs. The GoLokal!ConceptStore@DTI is located at the Groundfloor, Trade and Industry Bldg, 361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.  For more information on Go Lokal! and its store outlets, please visit golokal.dti.gov.ph.

PH, Turkey sign investment promotion, agriculture cooperation agreements at the 1st JCETC

ANKARA – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez led a delegation to Turkey to convene the first Philippine (PH)-Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCETC) as well as the signing of Summary of Discussions covering trade, investment promotions, and economic cooperation on 5-6 February 2018.

“The Philippines is committed to pursue several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Turkey,” said Sec. Lopez.

The PH trade chief and his JCETC counterpart, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, who is the Minister designated to represent their government in this meeting,  discussed various areas of trade and investment cooperation on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); manufacturing such as textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, agri-processing for mango, coconut, banana; hotels and tourism; infrastructure; air services; customs; energy; science and technology; education; standardization; film and creatives; defense; contracting and consultancy services.

They offer to buy products PH can export to Turkey and shall venture with Filipino partners to manufacture the needed products, such as in textiles and pharmaceuticals.  They also offer to provide interest-free financial assistance for any project critical to the country’s development as well as security cooperation.

The meeting also involved dialogues on the ongoing government efforts in rebuilding Marawi and how Turkey, as a pre-dominantly Muslim country, can assist PH on its programs and projects. It included discussions on how Islamic financing can be utilized for those MSMEs affected by the siege.  They will study the industries that can be put up in Mindanao and can generate more jobs for the people in Marawi.

Both officials also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Investment Promotion by PH Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and the Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) President Arda Ermut.

The MOU covered the intention of both parties to exchange best practices as well as information on investment environment and opportunities. Likewise, it encourages local companies to set up and expand their businesses in the partner country.

In 2016, Turkey was PH’s 45th trading partner, 45th export market, and 43th import supplier. In 2017 (covering January-November), total trade between two countries hit a significant increase with USD 163 million.

“Engaging with Turkey is in line with the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to engage with non-traditional trading partners to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between both countries,” said Sec. Lopez.

The trade chief cited current PH exports to Turkey are still confined mostly to desiccated coconut, personal care products, electronics, and tires. These areas are expected to expand with the renewal of economic ties between the two governments and the direct networking among the private sector business delegates.  Several business complementations were identified such as in textiles, tourism, pharmaceutical, and infrastructure development.

“During our discussions, we noticed that there are opportunities for our Philippine exporters—whether manufactured goods or services—to further tap the Turkish market,” he added.

The Turkish market comprises more than 80 million people, with per capita income twice of PH’s, and an 11.1% GDP growth posted during the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, an MOU on the enhancement of cooperation in agriculture—plant production and protection; animal farming, health, and breeding; fisheries and aquaculture; food industry; research; rural development; irrigation and extension service; as well as promotion of joint ventures between private sectors—was signed by PH Ambassador to Turkey Maria Rowena Sanchez and Minister Nurettin Canikli.

Partner Philippines

At the sidelines of the JCETC meetings, DTI met with PH and Turkish business officials through a forum with the Turkish Contractors Association (TCA). Sec. Lopez encouraged Turkish companies to join the PH growth story and partner with the country through infrastructure projects, including President Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program.

The meeting was arranged by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), the Philippine Embassy in Ankara, and the Turkish Ministry of Economy.

The Trade Secretary attended as well a roundtable discussion with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey or the Dış Ekonomik İlişkiler Kurulu (DEİK), a leading business organization based in Istanbul. Currently, the organization is represented by 94 founding institutions, 136 bilateral business councils, 5 sector-specific business councils, and 2 special purpose business councils.There will be an immediate Turkey business and investment mission to the Philippines on March this year.

Also at the roundtable discussion were Philippine-Turkey Business Council Chair Ernesto Chua Co Kiong and his counterpart from the Turkish-Philippine Business Council, Mr. Ilkem Sahin. Both expressed optimism on the future economic relations between the two countries.

Sec. Lopez likewise met with other Turkish companies interested in doing business in the country, such as IS Holding and Elginkan.

IS Holding is keen on having ventures in PH involving low cost mass housing, energy, shipyard development as well as film and content production. Meanwhile, Elginkan expressed their interest to expand its operations in Southeast Asia particularly in the Philippines as their potential manufacturing hub in the region.

DTI distributes livelihood packages, extends 0%-interest microfinance loans to Marawi IDPs

ILIGAN – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) awarded 1,500 livelihood packages as well as 0%-interest microfinance loans to the internally displaced people (IDP) of the Marawi siege during the DTI Negosyo Seminar Para sa Marawi on 30 January 2018.

“We want to assure the IDPs that President Duterte’s administration continues to provide more business and livelihood opportunities through the DTI Negosyo Seminars being given to help them recover soon,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

There were 1,500 participants and beneficiaries who attended the Negosyo Seminar. One of them was Mr. Alikman Nata, who intends to share the benefits of the livelihood package to his group, the Lanao Muslim Youth Association.

As the head of Bangon Marawi’s Subcommittee in Business and Livelihood, DTI had earlier distributed 588 livelihood packages and conducted Negosyo trainings to 1,963 IDPs as of December 2017. There were also 240 beneficiaries who were linked to financial institutions.

The Department also allocated Php 50 million this year to fund the Shared Service Facilities (SSF), providing Maranao entrepreneurs with facilities and knowledge that match their business needs. This is apart from the budget provision to support other Bangon Marawi programs in providing mobile rice mills, tricycles, vehicles, and the construction of public markets.

DTI flew in different business experts to teach business preparedness, opportunities spotting, product development and marketing, financial literacy, and franchising.

Gov’t earmarks Php2-B  for MSME development

To continue the Department of Trade and Industry’s programs to develop Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the government has set aside Php2 billion to aid entrepreneurs and create an entrepreneurial revolution in the country that will result in more jobs generated for Filipinos.

“We are committed in our goal of providing job opportunities for all Filipinos, and uplifting the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid by strengthening the MSME sector in the country,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Group Zenaida Maglaya said the agency will tap Php1 billion to continue funding the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) micro loan program and another Php1 billion for the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) equipment-sharing project.

“For the Pondo sa Pagbago at Pag-asenso program or P3, we were able to get another Php1 billion this year on top of the Php1 billion last year. We hope to increase the loan packages that we were able to generate,” Maglaya said during the DTI-wide press conference on Monday.

According to Maglaya, the loan released nationwide under the P3 program reached Php 1 billion, funding 38,425 beneficiaries with almost 100% re-payment rate.

DTI has funded Php 820 million worth of loans through the P3 program and assisted 20, 425 micro entrepreneurs. In addition, the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), a partner of the government in the program, released Php 230 million loans from its funds for 18,000 micro enterprises.

The flagship micro loan program aims to provide alternative micro financing to entrepreneurs, who usually borrow from usurious loan sharks. The program will help negate the 5-6 lending scheme.

Maglaya said that the agency is looking to cover all provinces in the country, adding that there are still 20 provinces in the country that have to be reached by the program due to lack of local conduits.

P1-B for SSF

On the other hand, the agency will also fund Php1 billion for its equipment-sharing facility program SSF to provide MSMEs access to technology, machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system.

Maglaya said the Php1 billion will be allocated to the following: Php400 million for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Php50 million for the Marawi rehabilitation. The remaining fund will help put up more SSFs and maintain other equipment.

Maglaya also noted that the agency has tapped SUCs, through Fabrication Laboratories or Fablabs, to develop more MSMEs and help young entrepreneurs in terms of innovation and prototyping technologies and software for their products and design.

“We’re looking at how SUCs, academe can help in developing and assisting our MSMEs as well as be able to develop young entrepreneurs in schools,” she explained.

Fablabs aim to enhance the core competencies of existing manufacturers and emerging entrepreneurs in digitally-enabled manufacturing workflows guided by art and design principles.

Likewise, to hasten the rehabilitation and recovery of war-torn Marawi City, the agency will provide equipment and machinery to affected internally displaced persons (IDPs) to expand the market-reach of Maranao products.

“We’re looking at reviving the industries like weaving, wood working and brassware. We will provide SSFs for our brothers and sisters in Marawi,” Maglaya said.

So far, the agency has established 2,222 SSFs worth Php1.188 billion throughout the country, benefitting 215,628 existing and potential MSMEs and providing 111,747 jobs to Filipinos.

With access to better technology and more sophisticated equipment, MSMEs will have higher productivity, better and efficient products, higher levels of innovation and creativity, and improved market access to address the gaps and bottle necks in the global value chain being faced by MSMEs.

Philippine MSMEs account for 99.5% of the total number of established businesses and employ 62.8% of the country’s workforce, contributing substantially to the country’s manufacturing output and total employment and making it critical engines of economic growth and development.