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Free trade perks makes PHL exports more competitive

DTI urges exporters to utilize free trade perks
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One of the country’s leading exporters of handcrafted, sterling silver jewelry, 7 Castles, Inc., said that Philippine preferential trade agreements have helped them become more globally competitive.
 
“We started to get our accreditation for the FTAs because one of our major clients was expanding to China and Japan,” 7 Castles Inc chief executive officer Ma. Asuncion S. Faustmann said. The client plans to consolidate their sources in Hong Kong, which means they have to face tough competition with companies from China. Faustmann decided to get accreditation under the ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Japan preferential trade agreements to “keep their market share and attract new clients.”
 
The Philippines has preferential trade agreements under ASEAN with China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India as well as a bilateral agreement with Japan.
 
“We are encouraging more exporters to utilize preferential trade agreements -- for business to explore and gain access to other markets and for them to create more job opportunities. The recent approval of the Philippine Export Development Plan sets the strategies to expand and diversify markets, and at the firm-level, help local enterprises compete globally,” Undersecretary for International Trade Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said.
 
Faustmann was among the participants in the Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA), a series of information sessions for businesses to know more about and profit from preferential trade agreements. The DBFTA sessions focus on food, motor vehicles and parts, minerals, wearables, home style/construction related materials, coconut products and IT/BPO sectors.
 
Faustmann said she appreciated the Certificate of Origin (CO), a form submitted to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) as proof that a product is from the Philippines. “The session on COs made us look at our costs more closely as we needed to submit to the BoC the breakdown of costs when applying for accreditation.”
 
The Certificate of Origin (CO) is a document used in international trade which traditionally states where the goods are actually made. Under a particular trade agreement, a CO is required by the custom’s authority when deciding whether the imports can avail of preferential tariff treatment.
 
Faustmann said that 7 Castles, Inc. also plans to use the preferential trade agreement with Australia, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), to further improve their product’s competitiveness.
 
The DTI is improving the competitiveness of Filipino exporters by creating business opportunities in markets where the country has FTAs. In these partner markets, exporters can benefit from reduced or eliminated tariff barriers.

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