THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has inked an agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to establish a partnership between the government and the business community to leverage on free-trade agreements (FTAs), preferential trade agreements (PTAs), Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), among others, of the Philippines with other countries.
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DTI and PCCI is to “create a strategic and institutional partnership between the government and the business community to increase public knowledge of the Philippines’s initiatives on FTAs, PTAs, EPAs and similar or related accords, including but not limited to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, and thereby increasing utilization of such agreements through the conduct of collaborative trade education, advocacy and related activities.”
PCCI noted that this agreement also aims to provide networking and linkage opportunities for businesses and industry associations seeking to participate in global value chains (GVCs), and share resources and related information necessary.
Among the areas of cooperation under this agreement is to “undertake capacity-building activities and mentorship programs for business leaders and technical staff members of the PCCI and industry associations to strengthen their capability to effectively and efficiently utilize FTAs, PTAs, EPAs and other similar accord.”
Based on the MOU, one commitment of DTI is to provide PCCI access to available data and information necessary for the conduct of collaborative activities, subject to relevant laws, rules and regulations, such as on confidentiality and data privacy.
The agreement also noted that the DTI shall assist PCCI in disseminating relevant information material on FTAs, PTAs, EPAs, and pertinent government regulations to business stakeholders and the public.
DTI shall also participate in collaborative activities as resource persons, or co-organizers or contributors.
According to the MOU, the DTI shall facilitate cooperation between PCCI and relevant government instrumentalities in the establishment of international trade assistance centers/help desks in key regions and cities.
PCCI, on the other hand, commits under the MOU to “promote, support and cascade information on FTAs, PTAs, EPAs and similar and related instrumentalities among its members, local chambers, industry associations and business councils with the aim of raising awareness of the business sector on the same.”
PCCI is also tasked to assist DTI in organizing consultative dialogues, roadshows, webinars/seminars and participate in such activities.
The business group shall also identify pilot local chambers and/or industry associations that can set up international trade assistance centers/help desks in their secretariat offices, the MOU noted.
The funding of programs, projects and/or activities shall be subject to the agreement of the parties, the availability of funds, and applicable laws, rules and regulations, the MOU noted.