During the culminating event of the Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Program Phase 1 held at the NEDA sa Makati, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) presented the accomplishments of TRTA 1 as well as its impact on the program’s stakeholders.
NEDA Trade, Industry and Utilities Staff (TIUS) Director Brenda R. Mendoza said among the accomplishments of TRTA 1 were the upgrading of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS) regulatory framework, improved day-to-day management of the customs process, improved awareness of safety in the fishery and coconut food and feed chains, and improved knowledge of EU market access for exporting electrical and electronic goods.
“With the accomplishments on TBT and SPS as well as on the increased EU market access, exports of fishery products grew by 31.5 percent in 2007 from 19.8 percent in 2006. The number of companies accredited for export of fishery products to EU also increased by 18 percent in 2007. Relevant Administrative Orders (AOs) prepared are also now in line with international and EU standards,” Mendoza said.
As for the impact of the improved customs process, Mendoza said that cargoes or shipments targeted for yellow or red-lane inspection have declined from 80 percent to 20 percent. She added that in terms of exporting electrical and electronic goods, the proficiency in calibrating measurement instruments improved in 18 out of 30 commercial and in-house laboratories.
The TRTA 1 was aimed at improving access of RP exports to EU, increasing confidence of EU in the quality and safety of RP exports and enhancing knowledge and capacity of stakeholders in dealing with WTO and international trade-related issues, among others.
For her part, NEDA Deputy Director-General Margarita R. Songco said that she is confident that the knowledge and skills gained by government agencies and the private sector from the experts or consultants, as well as numerous trainings, seminars and workshops conducted in the course of the TRTA 1 program would be applied.
“It is also hoped that these are transferred as well to others in the workplace. Many valuable lessons have been learned during the two-year operational phase of the program. I hope that concerned agencies will be guided by these in the implementation of the follow-up program, which I understand would be more complex and would have a longer timeframe,” Songco said.
Meanwhile, the TRTA Phase 2 program, with NEDA still as the implementing authority, will start this year until 2010 for which the European Commission (EC) approved a grant of about PhP420 million (€6.5 million). The program aims to facilitate the two-way trade between the European Union (EU) and the Philippines and enhance investment potential in the country.
The second phase builds on the successes of the TRTA 1 which was implemented from 2006 to 2008. Under the first phase, the EC provided a PhP220 million (€3.5 million) grant.