Stable E-commerce Crucial In Economic Growth — DTI

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)  Secretary Alfredo Pascual highlighted that digital trade and e-commerce are of key strategic interests to a developing country like the Philippines.


During his attendance at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Secretary Pascual said, “Specifically, we see digital innovation among the many aspects of the broad digital trade and digital economy as a primary mover in accelerating economic development.”


Secretary Pascual cited a 2023 report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company stating that the Philippine digital economy, heavily driven by e-commerce, is expected to continue its double-digit climb towards $35B USD by 2025.


The DTI Secretary emphasized the pivotal role of the WTO moratorium on imposing custom duties on electric transmissions in driving the growth, inclusivity, and sustainability of the digital economy and the future for the e-commerce sector.


He added that the said moratorium on custom duties will help increase digital inclusion, especially in developing countries like the Philippines, to actively participate in the global digital marketplace.


This extension of the said moratorium was one of the focal points to be resolved at the WTO conference. Extending such moratorium, as viewed by the WTO Members, will “foster digital inclusion by lowering barriers for businesses and consumers, boosting incomes for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through wider markets, and bridging the digital divide”.


While further deliberations and empirical examinations on the scope, definition, and impact of the moratorium on e-commerce custom duties are yet to be considered, the DTI Secretary recognized that extending the moratorium will ensure stability in the business environment and prevent unintended consequences or disruptions in trade.


In the conference working session, Secretary Pascual and other WTO Members took part in discussions on the Work Programme on E-commerce which is designed to preserve a conducive environment facilitated by the WTO for the global digital economy.


The full press release can be accessed here.

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