Overall, Philippines can compete in ASEAN 2015 integrated market – DTI
Overall the Philippines can compete under the integrated trading regime of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, the Department of Trade and Industry said.
But some domestic sectors, particularly agriculture, may lose out to competitors.
DTI Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said this as some sectors have aired serious concern over the country’s competitiveness come 2015 because goods produced in the country are competing against similar products of other ASEAN countries.
“We are still producing, selling and even exporting, it already shows we are competing,” he said as he debunked perception that AEC is going to kill domestic industries.
But Cristobal also admitted that a few sectors may take a hit when AEC takes effect in 2015. These industries could be in the agriculture sector, like sugar, which is going to lose its tariff protection.
Rice, he said, will continue to have protection and tariff is going to stay at 35 percent.
The livestock industry is also expected to get hit with the removal of tariff shield, but Cristobal said that the Philippines has a better advantage against other ASEAN countries because, “We have very good position in the livestock sector since we are the only bird-flue free country in the region.”
Cristobal also reminded the domestic industries that the issue on tariff schedules had long been settled and industries have been informed of these deadlines.
“These schedules of commitments have been settled decades ago,” he said.
Cristobal also that the share of Asean in terms of the country’s trade has been increasing significantly. ASEAN now accounts for 20 percent of the country’s total trade.
“The share of on materials and raw components that are critical to us,” he said.
The only reason, he said, the Philippines has incurred trade deficits with ASEAN is because of its huge importation of rice, petroleum and petrochemicals products.
“But we are complementary in the electronics and in the automotive industries,” he added.
The Philippine trade, which for the past 20 years focused on its traditional markets – US, Europe, Japan and China – has now shifted to ASEAN, making it a must for Filipino enterprises to take advantage of the seamless ASEAN trading regime by 2015.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. pointed this out at the National Exporters’ Congress Week, which gathered the country’s largest exporters and small and medium enterprises.
“With the recent developments, we have seen a significant shift from the traditional markets to our neighboring countries in ASEAN,” Manalo said.
For the last 20 years, the Philippine export market focused on United States, Europe, Japan and China, but ASEAN is fast catching up.