The Philippine National Trade Repository (PNTR) is a web-based portal launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that provides a “single source of comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information on all trade-related matters” to promote transparency in regulation and facilitate ease of doing business in the country.
Background and Problem
It may be observed that prior to the PNTR, the process for identifying requirements in doing business in the country was a tedious process for exporters and importers alike. Access to trade data was a key concern for many businesses especially to micro-, small-, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) who experience difficulty in penetrating global and regional markets. The lack of network support is aggravated by a lack of knowledge on national and regional trade laws and regulations. As such, there have been international clamor to establish trade repositories that shall integrate all pertinent trade information of countries and facilitate ease of compliance of importers, exporters, and travelers to international trading policies. This initiative has become a priority strategy of regional and global trade forums like the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Facilitation (WTO-TF), and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Philippines, as a signatory to the ATIGA and other international forums, committed to adopting this trade facilitation strategy by leading the launch of the Philippine National Trade Repository (PNTR). The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led this initiative in partnership with the Philippine Tariff Commission and some Trade Regulatory Government Agencies (TRGAs) such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), among others.
Solution and Impact
The purpose of the PNTR is to benefit businesses involved in exporting and importing, though it pays particular importance to micro, small, and medium enterprises. The portal is relevant to them in the sense that it links them to the ASEAN Trade Repository which will enable them to access accurate and updated information on the ASEAN market, including information on regulatory requirements for moving goods among ASEAN countries. Given the accessibility of the PNTR via the internet, the Philippine government is able to inform the public of the transparency of the country’s trade environment and the businesses’ compliance with prescribed trade regulations. The availability of information to the public also aids in facilitating a dynamic trading environment since it reduces the amount of time and costs in doing trade transactions.
- Discussion on the Functioning of the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR)/ National Trade Repository (NTR) and Notification Procedures under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) – Members of the Ad-Hoc Technical Working Group on the PNTR (Ad-Hoc TWG-PNTR) attended the Regional Workshop on ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR)/ National Trade Repository (NTR) and Notification Procedures under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) on May 6, 2014 to discuss the technical solutions in relation to the functioning of the ATR/NTR and the notification procedure under the ATIGA.
- Institutionalization and Operation of PNTR – Member-agencies of the Ad-Hoc TWG-PNTR attended a national workshop on ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR)/National Trade Repository (NTR)/Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) and Notification Procedures under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) sponsored by the European Union-ASEAN Regional Integration Supported by EU (EU-ARISE) on September 18-19, 2014 to assist them in the institutionalization and operation of the PNTR. The NTMs are policy measures that can impact the international trade of goods.
- Simulation Exercise to Link PNTR with ATR – Secretariat of the Ad-Hoc TWG-PNTR participated in the Regional Workshop on the ASEAN Trade Repository Interface on March 10, 2015, where the proposed ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR) was presented. The Secretariat, together with nine other ASEAN countries, engaged in a simulation exercise to link its NTR to the ATR.
- Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) Identification, Classification, Notification, and Web-Linking to the ATR – Member-agencies of the Ad-Hoc Technical Working Group on PNTR (Ad-Hoc TWG-PNTR) conducted a one-day workshop on July 9, 2015 to popularize the PNTR and to identify, classify and notify Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) so they may be web-linked to the ATR. Simulations with fictional cases were conducted during the workshop to facilitate learning in properly classifying NTMs.
- Revisiting Key Concepts, Guidelines, and Processes for Uploading Trade Information on PNTR – The DTI held a three-day national workshop on 22-24 March 2017 to tackle the process of non-tariff measures (NTM) identification, classification and upload on trade repositories, as well as to revisit key concepts, guidelines, and processes for uploading trade-related information to the PNTR. It was also shared in the said activity some practical knowledge on web-linking the content of the PNTR to the ATR.
- Launching of PNTR – The DTI, with the grace of international and national partners, launched the PNTR portal on August 1, 2017. The focus of the event had been the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DTI and the Philippine Tariff Commission (TC), which aimed to address timely sharing of information (e.g. updates on changes in documentary requirements and tariff schedules) between the two agencies for an updated and accurate PNTR.