FTA utilization tracker to be co-developed with South Korea

FTA utilization tracker to be co-developed with South Korea

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will co-develop with a South Korean partner a digital platform to promote and increase free trade agreement (FTA) utilization.

In a statement, the DTI said it signed the record of discussions for the development and implementation of the Origin Management System for the Promotion of FTAs in the Philippines project with the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology.

“This is a vital tool for the Philippines to optimize the Philippines-South Korea FTA and all other Philippine FTAs and preferential trade arrangements,” Undersecretary for Industry Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Group Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

“The best time to prepare for an FTA is before it is even implemented or while it is being negotiated,” he added.

The project will run until December 2025. Its features include the development of an origin management system which will allow exporters to determine whether their products qualify under the respective rules of origin requirements of FTAs.

It will also develop an artificial intelligence-enabled harmonized system (HS) classification tool that will enable exporters to determine the HS codes for their products.

The South Korean government’s designated trade automation business service provider, Korea Trade Network, will serve as the implementing consortium for the project, while the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau will serve as the implementing lead for the Philippine side.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the use of digital platforms by FTA member countries will further boost international trade, transactions and overall business.

“This will translate to higher sales, earnings, employment and other business activities that can further boost gross domestic product growth,” Mr. Ricafort said.

“Additionally, online transactions significantly increase the market reach of many businesses and that could be optimized further with FTAs,” he added.

In September, the Philippines and South Korea signed an FTA which is expected to further open up both economies and help mitigate supply chain disruptions. — Justine Irish D. Tabile