DTI takes lead in putting up Asia Pacific trade repository
THE PHILIPPINE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has spearheaded the creation of a virtual trade repository for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), as it sought to further increase transparency of member economies’ trade policy.
The Apec Trade Repository (ApecTR) is envisioned to significantly help businesses and policymakers to better navigate the trading landscape as it will serve as a one-stop website for comprehensive information on trade and investment regulations, such as those concerning export duties and licensing.
“This has been approved for implementation. We will push for this as part of the implementation plan for the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize Micro, Small and Medium sized Enterprises. The trade repository is a website that will be accessible to all, where all the rules and regulations about trade and standards can be found. It will have nine elements,” Trade Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said on the sidelines of recent Apec meetings in Cebu City.
“We already have the Philippine National Trade Repository, and there is also the Asean Trade Repository and the Apec Trade Repository. All of these should be aligned so that if you’re an MSME, you can easily access the information in just one website,” Rodolfo added.
According to Rodolfo, a mock website for the ApecTR is already up but concerned agencies are still fixing it. The Philippines is now inviting all Apec economies to contribute to the website by providing the necessary information and regulations that a trader or an exporter needs to know about a certain economy.
The reporting template for the ApecTR was expected to have been adopted by member economies during the third senior officials meeting over the weekend. This is then expected to be launched during the Apec Leaders’ Meeting in November this year.
According to Apec, the ApecTR will serve as a single online reference point on member economies’ trade and tariff regimes with the objective of further promoting Apec’s work on transparency, connectivity and trade facilitation.
The trade repository will contribute to the Apec 2015’s overarching theme of inclusive growth as it aims to collect in a single reference point relevant information necessary international trade available to those who want to participate in cross-border trade in the Asia Pacific region, regardless of size and with particular attention to SMEs.
It will serve as a portal that contains links to information on preferential tariffs offered; and rules of origin applied under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) entered into by Apec members. It was also proposed to have information on most favored nation (MFN) tariffs; best practices in trade facilitation, including advance rulings, tariff classification and origin valuation; nontariff measures and other trade measures; domestic trade and customs laws and rules; procedures and documentary requirements; authorized economic operators, and information on mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs).
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