Trade department lobbies next gov’t to expand local production as Duterte term winds down

THE next government needs to continue modernizing domestic manufacturing to raise productivity, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“They have to continue to pursue what we’ve started in terms of modernizing production (to help) local producers — those in agriculture, industry, and services,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a television interview on Tuesday.

He recommended a renewed focus on improving “productivity, yield, (and) competitiveness.”

“In agriculture, we’re talking of providing seed, seedlings, fertilizer, financing, and equipment,” he said, while for industry, the key areas were  equipment and skills training.  

Mr. Lopez also backed continued efforts in streamlining government transactions.

“We have some programs that (we hope will) continue especially in streamlining and automating government transactions (in accordance with) the Ease of Doing Business Act,” Mr. Lopez said.

Asked to comment further, Mr. Lopez said via Viber message that he will push for the next government to pursue legislation like the Internet Transactions bill and the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines bill.

The Internet Transaction bill, or House Bill No. 7805, seeks to enhance regulation of e-commerce industry, while the House Bill 9350, or the OTOP Philippines bill, aims to help various municipalities specialize in certain products for which their resources and local talent are best suited.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lopez said he is confident that consumer spending will bounce back.

“We see more and more jobs being recovered, the opening of the tourism sector, and the opening of all sectors of the economy as we lower the alert levels,” Mr. Lopez said.

He said more investment is expected following the passage of economic reforms such as amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investment Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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