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Preliminary estimate for ‘strategic goods’ exports at $4.5 billion in 2022, little changed — Trade dep’t

PHILIPPINE exports of “strategic goods” — military goods, as well as those with dual civilian and military applications — amounted to $4.5 billion in 2022, little changed from a year earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a preliminary estimate.

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said Monday however that strategic goods trade is expected to grow going forward as the risk assessment process and the permitting system become more efficient.

“The potential trade in strategic goods is expected to increase as businesses become more confident about expanding their activities, considering the risk assessment criteria we apply to all export applications. For instance, (we guarantee that) US-headquartered companies’ Philippine counterparts (do not do business with) sanctioned individuals and entities,” Mr. Pascual said during the launch of the DTI’s Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO) e-licensing platform in Makati City.

Strategic goods include software and technology that could be used for military purposes, including the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.

Exports of these products are governed under Republic Act No. 10697, or the Strategic Trade Management Act.

“The STMO has yet to verify the specific amount for last year, 2022, but it is estimated to be around the same $4.5 billion figure. The STMO is still validating the annual reports and reconciling the data with the Bureau of Customs,” Mr. Pascual said.

According to Mr. Pascual, information systems accounted for 98% of the Philippines’ strategic goods exports in 2021, while semiconductors and integrated circuits accounted for the remaining 2%.

“Our biggest trading partner is the United States with a 60% share. Next is Japan at 21%, Singapore 5%, South Korea 4%, and China 3%,” Mr. Pascual said.

Meanwhile, the DTI also launched on Monday the Philippine STMO e-licensing platform as part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement (CTRA) with the US.

The online platform will serve as the one-stop shop for all export control-related services.

“The e-licensing platform is also accessible 24/7 to all stakeholders. Safeguards have been placed to make transactions more efficient, transparent, and secure. Ultimately, this IT infrastructure project will facilitate the issuance of certificates to our industry stakeholders applying for the cross-border transfer of strategic goods,” Mr. Pascual said.

“The DTI expects this infrastructure to help increase industry awareness and compliance with the Strategic Trade Management Act law. This will significantly increase and improve the Philippines’ implementation of our international obligations, thus demonstrating our commitment to peace and security,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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