GMA News, Philippines
DTI spreads awareness of free trade agreements to increase their usage
16 September 2012
The Department of Trade and Industry has intensified its information campaign about the country’s free trade agreements in a bid to increase their utilization rate this year.
Citing recent data from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat, Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said the Philippines already shows the highest improvement among ASEAN countries in terms of FTA utilization rate.
ASEAN Secretariat data showed that the country’s FTA utilization rate increased to 41.15 percent in 2010 from 20 percent in the 2008, based on An Asian Development Bank survey.
"So we are expanding this," Cristobal said. He said that the department will conduct 100 FTA seminars this year, up from 75 in 2011, and that increasing the usage rate is one of the core strategies of the DTI’s Philippine Export Development Plan.
As an ASEAN member nation, the Philippines has free trade agreements with other ASEAN nations, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.