The Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) of the Department of Trade and Industry held its 2022 virtual planning conference from November 15 – 17 2021 as part of the group’s preparations of its work programs and activities as the Philippines prepares itself for increased economic activity post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary Lopez reported that despite the pandemic, Philippines exports from January to September 2021 increased by 17.97% vis-à-vis the same period in 2020; while net FDI’s increased by almost $2B versus the previous year. In addition, the Secretary remarked that “For a while, there are some doubts that this yet might be the recovery, but from what we are seeing, the numbers that were shown in the second quarter and confirmed in the third quarter have really moved back to positive territory.”
The group discussed how it would contribute to the Philippines’ Build Back Better through private sector collaboration, supporting the reopening of the economy, and implementing the DTI’s key programs and reforms. With the Philippines seeing lower COVID-19 infections and easing of restrictions, domestic businesses are re-opening and Filipinos are going back to their places of employment. The FTSC, through these consultations is doing its part to support the country’s post-pandemic recovery by bringing in more foreign investments in new sectors and opening more markets for Philippine products.
Throughout the three-day program, the DTI’s Special Trade Representatives and Trade Service Officers also had the opportunity to meet with officials from various national government agencies such as the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), and the Department of Energy (DOE). Director Reynaldo Cancio of the NEDA explained that the Philippines is on track to hit its 4.9% year-to-date high-end growth target, with a favorable outlook for the country moving towards 2022.
The FTSC, DICT, and DOE also agreed to promote investment growth sectors such as renewable energy, accelerating digitalization and ICT infrastructure in the countryside, and continuing support for IT-BPM and its sub-sectors. The DTI’s Regional Operations Group (ROG) and the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) also urged FTSC to further explore opportunities for Philippine coffee and coconut products in our key export markets and identifying capacity building partners that would help our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) upgrade their technology and skills.
“As partners in development, the FTSC also met with private sector representatives to learn the newest and most innovative sectors for trade and investment promotion.
Ali Baba Cloud and PLDT Alpha Enterprise discussed the advantages of the Philippines to host hyperscalers through our data centers and cloud services and how the growing availability of cloud infrastructure in the country can be an attractive value proposition for prospective investors across multiple sectors to invest in the country.
Ionics, a 100% Filipino-owned company that has operations in the United States, presented its smart factories that reduced downtime and errors, thereby increasing productivity and cost-efficiency in their Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) facilities. It plans to offer these smart factory solutions from the Philippines that would manage and monitor production line processes to major global manufacturing companies as the world moves towards AI-enabled and IOT powered operations.
ECfulfill, a successful start-up E-commerce company also discussed their business model, and how the company is working with the DTI to help Filipino MSME’s penetrate more foreign markets by offering a platform that provides export order fulfillment, warehousing and distribution solutions direct to buyer and consumers abroad both through online marketplaces and brick-and-mortar establishments.”
The FTSC is a frontline mover in advancing the country’s economic interests in the global arena. To date, there are 30 trade representatives posted overseas that represent the Philippines in key markets across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and the Americas, supported by a Coordinating Office in Manila. The FTSC is tasked to promote the Philippines’ trade and investment interests and pursue the priorities of the Department of the Trade Industry. Despite the ongoing health crisis, our Posts have stepped up to the challenge to fulfill their vital mandates in investment promotion, export promotion, trade policy, and commercial intelligence.