Shift in business processes, consumer preferences provide opportunities

The country aims to scale up and diversify products to minimize vulnerability and take advantage of opportunities for shift in business processes and consumer preferences, as it transitions to the “new normal| amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

This is among the strategies to boost trade identified in the “We Recover as One” report released by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), chair of the interagency task force technical working group for anticipatory and forward planning.

The report said the demand is likely to go down for major export products due to changes in consumer preference in partner countries, reduction in production activities, or constraints in customs operations.

“(However,) the possible shift to or focus on electronic products and equipment provides an opportunity for the country to be part of the value chain for production of robots or installation of Artificial Intelligence in various systems,” it said.

The report said there is a window of opportunity for exports of medical equipment, supplies, testing kits, and other medical related articles.

“…The demand for these products is unlikely to go down until a vaccine is found and mass produced,” it added.

Apart from scaling up and diversifying products, the “We Recover as One” report underscored the need to strictly enforce phytosanitary protocols to ensure that regulated and prohibited cargoes will not be able to enter the country.

“To ensure that our territory remains safe against trade of wildlife species that may be host to various diseases, there may be a need to issue appropriate administrative orders that would reiterate strict compliance with established rules, and impose higher penalties for any violation,” it said.

The report further pushed for budget support for the country’s engaging in regional and multilateral fora to pursue the concern on regional stockpiling of essential goods or establishment of regional foodbanks amid the pandemic for the rest of 2020 and next year.

“Revive discussions in regional forums on the possibility of developing regional stockpiling of essential goods. Rather than working in harmful silos, countries will be more effective in crisis response through regional cooperation. This can start with developing regional stockpiling of essential goods,” it said.

The report said formulating and operationalizing a logistics trade flow for the movement of essential items within the Asean region to reduce the country’s vulnerability to supply constraint may be also considered.

In 2021, it identified fast-tracked implementation of TradeNet, an online trade-facilitation portal, among its suggested programs and projects.

“TradeNet needs to be swiftly implemented to help reduce the cost of engaging in trade and facilitate movement of cargo through online processing and inter-agency certification that ensures the authenticity of digital documents,” it said.

The system can also be linked to online payment systems to ease payment procedures for trade documents, it added.

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