By Elijah Felice Rosales, October 30 2018; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

The Board of Investments (BOI) has lined up a series of discussions with the different domestic industries to enhance their global competitiveness at a time the multilateral trading system is put to a test.

The Trade and Industry Development (TID) Talks is a series of discussions organized by the BOI to serve as an avenue for the government and local industries to exchange views on policies, programs, issues and initiatives. This is to ensure the government remains responsive to the needs of the private sector, and firms maintain their competitiveness in the face of global trade uncertainty.

Trade Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said the BOI wants to hear from business leadersthemselves how the agency can help address the concerns of the private sector. She added they can voice their policy and reform proposals to the government through the TID Talks.

“We are here to have a dialogue, to have a conversation, to talk and to listen to each other. These TID Talks serve as a platform through which the BOI can reach out to the private sector to discuss trade and industry development initiatives and have a discussion on how we can remain steadfast in responding to the needs of our local industries,” Aldaba said.

Local industries are facing disruptive challenges internally and globally. It is at this time the government and the private sector should collaborate more to weather the disruptions, Aldaba stated.

“With abrupt changes in the domestic and external markets, such as the trade war involving major trading economies, the heightened inflation, rising imports and export slowdown, we need your inputs as we continue to formulate our policies and programs to better address these changes,” Aldaba said.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo Jr. added the TID Talks are crucial in mapping out the future of domestic industries. As changes in the business landscape occur, engagements with stakeholders must be augmented, he said.

“These TID Talks are instrumental in [the] development and implementation of the industry roadmaps. As we deepen our discussions on the action points of these roadmaps, we can readily map out what will happen in these industries and what changes are needed,” Rodolfo explained.

The first session of the TID Talks was with the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) and creative services industries. Although the IT-BPM industry already has a roadmap, the government is still crafting one for creative service providers.

“We hope to strengthen our partnership with the private sector in implementing the IT-BPM roadmap and discuss the formulation of the creative economy roadmap. We also need your partnership and support in formulating the Strategic Investment Priority Plan this year,” Aldaba said at the session with the two industries.

Rey E. Untal of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) is optimistic the industry will remain to be one of the country’s top performer.

“The IT-BPM industry has contributed a multitude of direct and indirect benefits to the Philippine economy. From an employment standpoint, we are already employing 5 million Filipinos directly and indirectly; not only are we creating jobs, but we are creating good-paying jobs,” the Ibpap president said.

“We are paving the way for the emerging middle class. But beyond that, if we look at our contribution to consumption power, this industry is contributing P300 billion annually to Filipino households. That’s a lot of spending power. The ripple effect on other industries is also quite prominent,” he added.

On the other hand, Paolo Mercado, president of the Creative Economic Council of the Philippines, said there is a need to go beyond investing on traditional tourism sites, including beaches, resorts and casinos. He proposed the government start building around creative festivals and conferences.

The next TID Talks will be with the mining, tourism, paper, book publishing and printing industries.

The BOI will center on tackling the future of the construction, mass housing, cement and ceramictiles, agricultural business, metalcasting, tool and die, and shipbuilding and ship repair industries in November. The garments and textiles roadmap will be launched in December, and TID Talks on that month will be with the furniture, jewelry and gifts, and decors and housewares industries.