Monday, April 2, 2018

Philippines Successfully Completes its 5th Trade Policy Review in the World Trade Organization

Member  economies  of  the  World  Trade  Organization  (WTO)  praised  the Philippines’ economic performance as it completes its 5th Trade Policy Review in the World Trade Organization on 26 and 28 March 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Review evaluates the country’s trade policy regime from 2012 to 2017.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S.  Rodolfo  headed  the  Philippine  delegation, with Undersecretary  for  International  Economic Relations  and  Philippine  Ambassador-Designate  to  the  WTO  Manuel  A.J.  Teehankee heading the DFA contingent. Undersecretary Rodolfo highlighted the Philippines economic  performance  during the review period and the government’s initiatives that were designed to achieve the goals of zero poverty and inclusive growth and to deepen policy reforms that ensure a more open economy, and an enabling business environment, devoid of any red tape. He also emphasized  the  work  done  by  the  country  on its  MSME  advocacies  and  FTA engagements.

Ambassador Juan Carlos  Gonzales,  Colombia’s  Permanent  Representative  and Chairperson of the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO, recognized that the Review offered an excellent opportunity for other WTO Members to deepen their understanding of the trade, economic, and investment policies of the Philippines, pointing out that more than 330 questions from 22 Members were submitted to the Philippines during the review process. Ambassador Gonzales noted that:  Members  praised  the  Philippines  for  its strong  commitment  to  preserve  and  strengthen the  multilateral  trading  system,  and  its active  role  to  advance  the negotiations  in  areas such  as  fisheries  subsidies, ...Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The WTO Report highlighted the Philippines 6.6% six-year average GDP growth from 2012 to 2017 and expressed optimism with President Duterte’s 10-point socio-economic agenda. In 2017, the country’s total trade amounted to USD 142 billion, up by 10% from 2016 and by 35% if compared in 2012. Quite significantly, in 2015, poverty incidence was reported at an all time low of 21.6%, as compared to 25.2% in 2012at the beginning of the review period.

Other critical reforms that were pursued in the country during the Review period includes the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the Philippine Competition Act and the creation of  the Philippine  Competition  Commission,  the  liberalization  of  several  key economic sectors, the  amendment of the Cabotage Principle of  the  1957  Tariff  and Customs  Code  through the  Foreign  Ships Co-Loading Act, the lowering of  tariff

*This is Press Release

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