TRADE & INDUSTRY SEC. URGES FOREIGN TRADE GROUP TO SUPPORT LOCAL SMEs

MANILA
, March 13, 2004
 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar V. Purisima is urging members of the Foreign Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations to support the government’s small and medium enterprise (SME) focus even as he assured them that government continues to address their concerns about infrastructure, power rates and taxes.

Purisima had met recently with representatives of the American, Japanese, Australian-New Zealand, European, Canadian, British, and Korean business chambers as well as representatives of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI) and the Management Association of the Philippines.

According to Purisima, there are many reliable SME suppliers that can service the needs of large companies.

Large foreign firms, he suggested, could partner with small firms and act as "big brother," thereby helping the small firm improve its products and services.

"Maintaining local partners ensures effective supply chain management since transport cost is minimized," Purisima pointed out.

Additionally, Purisima said, "the lines of communication are shortened such that the big brother firm can easily suggest changes or improvements in products and services of the small brother firm."

He noted that big companies can vouch for the creditworthiness of small suppliers, thus enabling the small suppliers to expand and hire more people.

One of Purisima’s avowed goals in DTI is job creation particularly through the SMEs.

Purisima has said that he would like to encourage more entrepreneurs.

Purisima believes that entrepreneurship is a "key item in the engine for growth."

He cited that fact that small and medium enterprises comprise 99.6 percent of businesses in the country and generate 70 percent of employment.

Unfortunately, Purisima observed, "a lot are survival entrepreneurs."

Purisima also informed the foreign chamber representatives that construction of the North Luzon Expressway and the North Rail is on track and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Completion of the work on the NLEX and the North Rail is expected to facilitate the transport of goods and services in the areas and ease the flow of traffic.

He also assured the foreign businessmen that the DTI continues to work with the Department of Energy on various initiatives to provide power rate discounts to ecozone locators to increase their competitiveness.

Lastly, he informed the foreign chamber representatives that the DTI is also working with the Bureau of Internal Revenue with regard to possible rewards for taxpayers and the modernization or the electronic filing of taxes and their corresponding implementation timelines.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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