February 20, 2018, 10:02 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07035 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03736 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0341 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37852 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02417 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0341 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03831 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.58755 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03006 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00722 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.54368 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01916 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02532 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13142 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06189 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01916 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.22893 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18046 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 383.5249 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03827 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02404 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01774 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.3659 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12153 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.27203 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.83966 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01916 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.70268 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39128 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.38755 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.115 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93544 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.16856 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24138 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33716 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52165 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01543 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03813 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01366 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01366 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08656 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89866 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.37548 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14054 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.9364 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14982 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45019 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11447 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.21437 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.80326 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 259.67432 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06787 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.23063 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.68199 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 709.84673 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.91667 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.39444 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01355 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03307 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.93774 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30544 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 76.53257 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.57567 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.24138 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.41552 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00573 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01571 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.12088 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.62069 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.83908 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97165 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.44272 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22308 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0584 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01189 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02534 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17539 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31734 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.9454 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.42146 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.82375 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15425 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.68582 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61303 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29828 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.66743 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35467 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07454 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22274 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.87739 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59195 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14901 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 1.96697 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02593 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00737 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01916 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06225 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06025 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11398 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0642 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.68774 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06973 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07198 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.08044 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.10153 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07184 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14875 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25546 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34393 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15255 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02511 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01367 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4254 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 146.16858 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.76628 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 378.35439 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16762 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.86552 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22276 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59923 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04546 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04238 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07167 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12904 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.55669 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.02682 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51715 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.38697 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01916 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54521 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 156.47509 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 477.73945 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 434.75095 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.01916 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04802 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.11303 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05172 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.11303 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.81628 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.78831 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22279 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.41571 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.93295 Zimbabwe dollar

Stronger SMEs with integration

“WE will not wake up to a lot of cheap products.” This, trade officials stressed to allay fears about cheap products and services from our Asean neighbors flooding the local market when Asean integration takes effect at the end of the year. 

Specifically, small and medium enterprises will not be left out or be left behind when the AEC comes into full play, said trade officials. In fact, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has seen liberalization working well for the country, pushing it to be more competitive.

“Many sectors are worried, especially SMES, that after Asean economies integrate, we will be flooded with cheap products. We will not wake up to a lot of cheap products just like that,” said Department of Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo.

While AEC aims to establish a single market and production base with free movement of goods, services and investments across the 10 Asean member-countries (AMC) by December 31, 2015, Domingo stressed that free trade has been happening for the past five years,

“Tariffs of more than 90 percent of the products have been reduced to zero since January 1, 2010,” Domingo said. 

Domingo said however that some sectors are expected to have significant challenges with regards traded goods. In agriculture particularly, sugar will be most affected since its tariff would be reduced to 5 percent by this year from 38 percent.

As for rice, Domingo said the effects would not be drastic since from 40 percent the tariff would be down to 35 percent in 2015 and would remain at that level.

Domingo admits there are still sticky issues in Asean concerning non-tariff barriers (NTBs)such as standards or regulations that make it difficult to enter another market even after duties have already been eliminated.

“Asean is doing extra work with regards addressing the NTBs,” he said.
 
Giving SMEs a boost

Considered as the backbone of the Philippine economy, SMEs comprise 99 percent of all enterprises. These certainly need extra boost. To give SMEs a push in Asean, Domingo said government is working on trade facilitation measures that would ensure industries as small as cottage industries and micro enterprises would be part of the supply chain in the flow of goods and services between countries in the region.

Domingo acknowledged that exporting to another Asean country entails tight processes and tedious rules that SMEs might find difficult to comply with, such as the rules of origin.

To enjoy zero duties, products need to have at least 40 percent Asean content.

“We need to fast track the way small industries like processed food manufacturing and handicraft can participate in Asean trade by giving them leeway. Unlike multinational corporations which have an army of accountants and lawyers who can fill out voluminous forms, these small companies do not have resources to do just that,” Domingo said.

Domingo has proposed the creation of super green lanes for SMEs to facilitate shipments with less paper work, and setting de minimis rules allowing minimal requirements for goods traded below a set amount or value.

The Philippines has been pushing fellow Asean members to consider simplifying rules for export such as the rules of origin. This would enable SMEs to gain direct market access to a liberalized region not only as a part of a supply chain but a direct exporter.

The rules of origin require a certification that the product is indeed made from the home country, ensuring that there is no third-party transhipment. A certification earns zero tariffs. Rules of origin are, however, meant for big business.

“Our furniture and handicraft exporters want to export directly but they are so small. What we are pushing within Asean is for them to export freely,” he said. “Rules of origin are designed for big enterprises and not for SMEs. We need to make changes to ensure SMEs participate in an easy manner by making rules very simple for small companies to feel the effect and benefits of (free trade). Without that, it is hard to push the free trade agenda,” Dommngo said another interview. 
 
Surging in services

Even in services, the Philippines is seen to come out ahead. Domingo said Asean since 2007 has been progressively opening up services based on specified threshold. As it is, the region has completed the mutual recognition agreement on services including accountancy, architecture, dental, engineering, medical, nursing, surveyors and tourism.

But those are not regarded as threat to Filipino workers who do similar services. Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said services would be opened gradually and cautiously between 51 and 70 except for those covered by Constitutional limits to the extent that foreigners are allowed only 40 percent equity in some sectors.

Those covered by the liberalization include business services, professional services, construction services, education services, environment services, healthcare services, maritime services, maritime transport services among others.

Sectors like financial services are covered by a separate agreement under Asean wherein it would be opened by 2020 consistent with each Asean member-country’s national laws.

Plans are afoot to have one Asean bank admitted in the region. Each country is allowed certain flexibilities in services by exempting 15 percent of some 150 services sectors up for liberalization.”We will come ahead in AEC. We have educated, and capable and loyal Filipinos. The OFW phenomenon is not a fluke, it is real. We have the best value for money,” Domingo said.
 
Enhancing competitiveness

At the forum entitled “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Game Plan: Regional Roadmaps for Competitiveness” held in Iloilo City last November, Domingo said “the goal is to increase efficiency and maximize productivity to enhance competitiveness. AEC drives us to improve the way we do things.” 

Domingo emphasized the need for industry to understand how global reforms impact on industrial development so that down to the rural communities, MSMEs, are assured to benefit from Asean integration.

Based on the country’s high GDP growth which is fastest in the region after China, Domingo said that “many of our companies are already competitive given the onslaught of products (from Asean). Our companies are growing.”

Liberalization has worked very well for the Philippines, in general. “It made many of our sectors competitive regionally and globally, allowing us to outperform in many sector,” Domingo said but added that many industries still need to be moved.

The Philippines, he said, is already competitive in electronics, information communication technology, high-end garments, and furniture.

“We welcome continued liberalization. In fact in the enabling trade survey of the WEF (World Economic Forum) we ranked very high at the globally in terms of  least barriers to trade. We will continue to take that position,” he said.
 
High compliance 

The Philippines in fact has one of the highest level of compliance in the commitments provided for under the AEC.

As Asean’s average  rate  compliance is between  84 and  89 percent, Cristobal said of the 439 measures specified in the AEC Blueprint commitments, the Philippines has a compliance rate of 87 percent as of 2013. 
 
Collaboration

Cristobal said there is a need for collaboration “to harmonize and complement the initiatives of both the government and private sector - where all players come together, converging on a coordinated plan and movement to achieve a goal or objective.”

“While government has already taken steps to enhance the country’s competitiveness through industry development roadmaps and appropriate policy reforms, it is equally important to communicate both the opportunities and challenges of the AEC to guide businesses,government agencies, and civil society.” Cristobal added.

Domingo echoed Cristobal’s call for collaboration. “The ball is in our court, so to speak. And we need to level up our game, intensify our strategic initiatives, and adopt a unified approach,” Domingo said in one of the fora on AEC.

Government seeks to further enhance the country’s competitiveness through policy and program initiatives that strengthen local industries. This endeavor is based on the strengthened partnership of government and the private sector. Areas covered by these initiatives: simplifying government transactions; ensuring transparency in bidding of government projects; developing industry roadmaps; fixing tariff distortions; enhancing infrastructure development; and focusing on education and skills training of the Filipino workforce, the backbone of the national economy. 

Domingo added that government is also reviewing its tax regime to make the country even more competitive. 

The DTI has been benchmarking the country’s tax structure against other Asean members, according to Domingo. He said that taxation significantly affects investment decisions.

Business groups, for their part, urged Congress to speed up the crafting of a Competition Law that would prevent anti-competitive business practices, abuse of market power, and anti-competitive mergers and other unfair trade practices; the end-goal: to strengthen local businesses of the integrated economies in Asean.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), on the other hand, said that a strong law on fair competition serves as the best defense of local businesses amid the influx of cheap commodities in the region. 

Such a law provides protection to investments flowing into the country. PCCI president Alfredo Yao said, in a seminar-workshop on competition policy and law, that the Competition Law will promote a more open environment for investments and will level the playing field for new entrants and current investors wishing to expand or diversify their investments in the domestic market.
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