SAVE THE DATE for the National Export Congress 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Export Development Council (EDC) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) cordially invites all exporters, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government policy makers, trade support institutions, the academe, and international organizations and other relevant stakeholders  to save the date and participate in this year’s first virtual National Export Congress (NEC) 2020 on 03 December 2020, 8:00AM to 4:30 PM via Zoom with the theme “Digitalization Boost: Invigorating Exports in the New Normal”.   

The congress will showcase how exporting companies adapted to the abrupt digital transformation, what best practices were applied,  business model used and lesson learned in trying to keep business going in spite of the pandemic. How did successful businesses and exporters leveraged on their digital transformation strategies and activities, foster innovations by developing new systems, and improving current digital tools. On the other hand, how did the government helped the country and what policy reforms were crafted in mitigating the effects of the pandemic as well as boosting the economy and invigorating the export sector as a niche for rebuilding our nation? These will all be addressed in the upcoming NEC 2020. See you online!

PPA proposes rates for out-of-gauge cargoes and foreign empty containers   

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) presented their proposed arrastre, stevedoring, and storage rates for out-of-gauge (OOG) cargoes, and arrastre rates for empty foreign containers during their 1 October 2020 public hearing.

The proposed OOG rate will be using the multiplier factor of 3. Meaning, for the existing arrastre fee of a 20-foot container amounting to Php 3,516.00, the proposed OOG rate will be Php 10,548.00.

PPA justified that the 300% increase is based on the reason that while a regular 40-foot container’s average freight amount is approximately $500, a 40-foot OOG container’s average freight amount ranges from $1300 – $2500 for the equivalent route, depicting 2.6x to 5x surcharge. This then provides an average surcharge of 3.8x.

Moreover, PPA says that imposing authorized OOG rates will replace the current rates being charged. It is also to compensate the terminal/cargo handling operators for the services rendered in handling OOG cargoes.

PHILEXPORT, PMTLAI, and SCMAP, through the Export Development Council’s Networking Committee on Transport and Logistics (EDC-NCTL), submitted a joint position paper to PPA on 08 October 2020. The group agreed that there should be authorized established rates for OOG cargoes since it adversely affects the ports’ productivity. However, it opposed the justification of applying the multiplier factor of 3 in the base tariff as a methodology in determining the OOG tariff. Accordingly, this will diminish the country’s competitiveness, as the standard regional OOG surcharge is only 50%, as cited from the AISL Tariff Comparison among Southeast Asian countries.

On the other hand, the proposed arrastre rates for empty foreign containers at South Harbor (SH), MICT, and Batangas Port is also opposed by the business groups mentioned. On the same position paper, they expressed that “empty containers have always been a part of the stevedoring cost and should not be subject to arrastre fees”.  Citing the PPA Memorandum Circular No. 22-2004, which states that “containers, in general, shall be treated as part of ship’s gear”, while PPA defines arrastre as “a person/entity who/which performs portside cargo handling operations…”

PPA asserts that the existing schedule of cargo handling rates for import and export cargoes passing through SH, MICT, and Batangas Port does not contain any rate for arrastre services on empty containers, according to the PPA MC No. 11-89. Hence there is a need to adopt a policy. Moreover, it is also to ensure that policies on the handling of empty containers in PPA ports are uniform and updated; and to likewise compensate the terminal/cargo handling operators for services rendered on empty containers in the yard. KJDA

ARTA launches program NEHEMIA for the logistics sector

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) launched Program NEHEMIA for the Logistics Sector, making it the third sector launched among the five identified sectors under the program.

ARTA’s Program for National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-Related Agencies (NEHEMIA) is a sectoral-based streamlining effort aimed to reduce time, costs, requirements, and procedures in the government sector. One of the five identified sectors is the logistics sector, along with the common towers and interconnectivity sector, the housing sector, the food pharmaceutical sector, and the energy sector.

One initiative under this program is the replacement of multiple stickers on trucks/cargoes with a unified logistics pass in the form of QR code that will be issued by LTFRB. ARTA’s Deputy Director General and EDC-NCTL’s Co-Chair Atty. Ernesto Perez elaborated, “The cargo that will be issued of this pass will be recognized by the ports, and also by other government agencies and LGUs, allowing it unimpeded from its point of origin to its point of destination”.  Moreover, he added that they “will make sure that there will be no duplication of requirements.”, and there will be a substantial reduction in the steps of the procedure to 73%, and the number of days processing from 271 days to 35 days (87% reduction) for land transport only.

This system is also said to be integrated with the Central Business Portal and BOC’s E-TRACC System.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade expresses the Department’s full support and commitment to the project, reiterating that its objectives are aligned with their goals to remove red tape and reduce processing time.

Other than Sec. Tugade, DTI Secretary Lopez, DILG Undersecretary Densing, and Cabinet Secretary Nograles also graced the event and expressed support through their speeches. As CabSec Nograles stated, “The development of issuance of a unified logistics pass will allow free and faster movement of goods from point to point. On the other end, we hope to achieve the target of a 52% decrease in steps, requirements, cost, and time for government services in the logistics sector and eliminate the silo system and the lack of interconnection among agencies. This is aligned under the Philippine Development Plan, ensuring people-centered, clean, and efficient governance, specifically on achieving interoperability of government processes of becoming one connected government.”

“The train of red-tape is indeed on the move; inside it are the hopes and aspirations of the Filipino people for a more streamlined, and e-governance centered government.”, said ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica.

This initiative “will not just lessen the cost of transport, this will also give more employment opportunities to help our MSMEs. It is also seen to lessen the price of commodities, benefiting not only the country but the people whom we owe our loyalty and service as public servants.”, added Deputy Director General Perez. KJDA

BOC grants certified exporters to self-certify CO application under the AWSC scheme

The ASEAN Wide Self Certification Scheme (AWSC) allows exporters, who have proven their competence, to be eligible for the preferential treatment under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) through self-certification. As such, application of the Certificate of Origin (CO) Form D is no longer required once an exporter qualified the Certified Exporters (CE) status. However, e-Form D and paper-based Form D will still be used by the exporters who have not acquired the CE status. This will bring practical benefits, reducing cost and shipment delays, in processing export cargoes even during non-work hours and weekends.

The Bureau of Customs’ Export Coordination Division (BOC-ECD) will recommend to the BOC Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) to grant exporters the CE statusEligibility criteria includes the exporter/signatory of the certificate to have an in-depth knowledge about the Rules of Origin (ROO) procedures. CE are obliged to submit a quarterly summary report of all Origin Declarations to the ECD. 

Interested exporters may file their CE application personally or electronically in the BOC’s Customer Care Center (CCC). The complete list of documentary requirements and procedures can be found under the CMO 24-2020 ‘Guidelines in the Implementation of the ASEAN Wide Self-Certification Scheme’ as presented during the One Country, One Voice webinar conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of International Trade Relations (DTI-BITR) on 28 October 2020. -MRJ

Virtual BIDA Competition held successfully

Virtual BIDA Competition held successfully

PCCI successfully held its first-ever virtual Business Idea Development Award or BIDA Award on 21 and 23 September 2020 with the theme: Business Resiliency through Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. The competition usually is face-to-face, where students were to present their business plans before a panel of meticulous judges. Thanks to technology, the event pushed through via zoom, an online platform. From their homes’ comfort, the student-contestants with their coaches virtually defended their presentations to the judges, including the Q & A portion.

Several teams from state colleges and universities nationwide submitted their business plans subject to pre-screening before the selected PCCI Education Subcommittee members in the Food, Non-food, Services, and Technology categories of BIDA 2020. After the pre-screening, the judges’ panel narrowed down the entries to twelve (12), having three (3) for each category. This year, two (2) teams, each from St. Louis University and Malayan Colleges of Laguna, bagged the top awards for the four (4) categories. Continue reading Virtual BIDA Competition held successfully

Environmental Management Bureau defers implementation of General Effluent Standards

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and National Resources defers the implementation of the General Effluent Standards (GES) under DAO- 2016-08. Said standards applies to all point sources of pollution, regardless of volume, that discharge to receiving body of water or land and shall be used regardless of the industry category.

A Technical Committee, Sub-Committees, Core Group, and Secretariat were created for the review and assessment of the Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards of 2016 based on EMB’s special order.

With the ongoing review, implementation of Dissolved Copper, Sulfate, Boron, Phosphate, and Ammonia, under the GES of DAO 2016-08 is recommended to be postponed until the amended DAO-2016-08 is approved. This initiative will help exporters to cut additional penalty charges in compliance with the said GES policy. –MRJ

Government supports exporters on COVID-19 challenges faced

AnchorThe export industry remains resilient and optimistic to face the global health and economic crisis brought by the covid19 pandemic.

They are now producing in-demand products such as face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), face shields, and other relevant medical supply needed in this time of pandemic. They have also opened the window to market their products through online platforms. Indeed, these products are potential to the export sector – to cater the world demand in the global market.

On the other hand, the government takes into account the challenges faced by the businesses; initiating programs to help address such concerns. Issues and concerns of exporters nationwide as well as updates on the regional Programs, Actions Plans and Policies (PAPs) are gathered from the recently concluded PEDP 2018-2022 Virtual Regional Consultations held this August 12, 19 and 26, 2020 for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The topmost concern raised is financial assistance specifically for medium-sized enterprises, with the approval of Bayanihan Act, the government thru the Department of Trade and Industry’s non-bank, lending arm – the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) contributed to ease out the burden of these companies in need. They rolled out the SBCares program to help those micro and small business enterprises that have closed their businesses during the pandemic.

Now upon the approval of Bayanihan Act 2, SB Corp. assured support to Medium Enterprises, using their own corporate funds. SB Cares2 is now ready to roll out this program after the issuance of the implementing guidelines regarding requirements, terms and conditions for borrowers. Medium Enterprises upon compliance of requirements can borrow from Php500,000 to Php5 Million with zero interest.

On the logistics and supply chain unceasing issues, the Export Development Council (EDC) through its Networking Committee on Transport and Logistics (NCTL) successfully advocated for the online processing and payment of port charges, etc. through the issuance of BOC-DTI-PPA-ARTA Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) no. 01 s. 2020. The JMC makes online filing, processing and payment of port charges, cargo handling charges, other cargo handling related charges, permits, and ancillary fees, and customs taxes and duties mandatory.

To help sustain the economy through supply chains, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) created the Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning (TWG-AFP) chaired by the National Economic And Development Authority (NEDA) to develop detailed recommendations in the rebuilding of consumer and business confidence, the resumption of economic activities under the new normal, including strategic stockpiling. It is a joint initiative of various government agencies and private stakeholders.

Recently, the EDC approved two (2) project proposals worth Php3 Million of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Center for International Trade Expositions And Missions (CITEM) in lieu of the annual physical event as that of MANILA FAME Show; these are the (1) China International Import Expo (CIIE) 05 to 10 November 2020 and (2) China- Asean Expo (CAEXPO) which will be held on 27 to 30 November 2020. The said projects will benefit some 20 Philippine exhibitors in terms of subsidy for their participation fee and freight cost.
For further details of the above-mentioned project, you may visit the CITEM website at – PKC

Online System for all port processes and payment made mandatory thru Joint Memorandum Circular

The online filing, processing, and payment of port charges and other related fees is now made mandatory through a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC). With the JMC, it is now mandatory for all port users to file their applications online for permits and clearances for the release of cargoes from PPA, BOC, and other port operators including International Container Terminals Services, Inc. (ICTSI), Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI), and Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc. (HCPTI); and payment of corresponding fees shall be done through the accredited banks and payment channels.

Upon online payment, digital copies of the official receipts (OR) will be transmitted through different electronic platforms. These ORs shall suffice and be recognized as proof of liquidation, billing, and payment.

Another key feature of this JMC is the mandatory electronic processing of gate passes that can be printed by the client at their own locations. This gate pass shall allow the cargoes to pass through except in cases when there is derogatory information that has to be validated by the BOC – Piers and Inspection Division (PID) Personnel.

Moreover, this JMC puts the protocols into writing in case of a system failure; to prevent the possibility of having port congestion, and impediments on the movement of cargoes that leads to loss of resources and revenues.

For complaints, issues or problems, Clients may contact through the following platforms:

The virtual signing ceremony of the JMC happened on 5 August 2020 via zoom led by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). –KJDA

It pays to know right – MSME financing directory now available

The EDC Networking Committee on Financing came up with a Financing Directory aimed to assist the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have the option to choose the right financing program suited for their needs. The said directory is a compilation of different loan programs describing their eligibility criteria, requirements and other loan mechanics and processes from commercial banks, government financing institutions, other financing alternatives, venture capital (for start-up businesses), etc. Please note that the directory is based on currently available information and maybe subject to change by the concerned financing institutions/entities.

The said directory can be downloaded from the EDC website: 

SBCorp to fund the medium enterprises in the country  

fundingAccess to finance has been a perennial problem of the country’s MSMEs. Many financing programs were developed by government financing institutions to assist them in growing their businesses, ship their products, develop new products, attend trade shows, etc.  The latest of these many programs is SB Corporations’ (SBCorp) COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CAREs) program to micro and small enterprises for them to recover from losses that their businesses incurred during the pandemic.  All loans from the CAREs program are interest-free and payment starts after six (6) months upon release of the loan and is payable within 18 to 30 months.

Meanwhile, the medium enterprises whose businesses were also affected by the lockdown clamors to be included in the special loan facilities of government financing institutions in the country.  Ms. Mila Lacson, representing and championing the cause of her sector – the Holiday Décor & Giftwares, specifically called the attention of SBCorp as their applications for financial assistance under the CAREs program were denied for the reason that their companies are medium enterprises. Hence, the sector appealed that they should also be given financial assistance by the government, citing that they are more capable to pay dues, pay higher taxes and generate more jobs than their micro and small enterprise counterpart. Continue reading SBCorp to fund the medium enterprises in the country