E-licensing for strategic goods exports readied
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing its e-licensing portal for the export of strategic goods—products that are of military or of dual use in nature—to go online by the second quarter of this year, a move seen to improve the ease of doing business in the $4.5 billion local industry.
Janice Sacedon, director of the DTI’s Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO), disclosed this to the Inquirer on the sidelines of the launching ceremony on Monday at the Ascott Makati Hotel.
“We are waiting for special authority from the President. But it’s already in the testing phase,” she said, adding that the platform can also only process export licenses for now but that the feature to process import licenses will come in the future.
“The reason why we placed imports last is because there are other regulatory agencies right now that are regulating other items on the list. So, we want to streamline that before we implement it so that the licensing efforts by other agencies are not duplicated,” she added.
Sacedon said further that the imports feature is scheduled to be ready sometime next year.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual characterized the launching of the STMO’s e-licensing platform as a significant stage in monitoring and controlling trade in the specified strategic goods.
“We aim to balance facilitating legitimate trade and maintaining international peace and security, and we want to trade in tools while ensuring that these tools are not used as weapons. The STMO e-licensing platform is a way forward in responsibly managing strategic goods and providing related services,” he said during the ceremony.
According to Pascual, the export value of these strategic goods reached $3.6 million in 2020, which surged further to $4.5 billion in 2021.
Annual data for 2022 has yet to be released but the Trade Secretary estimates it to be around the same value in 2021.
Under the National Strategic Goods List, these exports include goods, software, or technology that can be used in developing weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms.
The list is provided for under Republic Act No. 10697 or the “Strategic Trade Management Act.”
These goods range from drones to digital converters, as well as machine tools, chemicals, guns and ammunition.
As for the country’s actual exports of these strategic goods, the DTI says that, in 2021, 98 percent of those were information systems, while semiconductors and integrated circuits accounted for the remaining 2 percent.
The Philippines’ biggest trading partner is the United States, where 60 percent of those goods were shipped.
This is followed by Japan with a 21 percent share, Singapore with 5 percent, South Korea with 4 percent and China with 3 percent. INQ