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DTI chief advises local construction sector: Seize global demand

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is prodding the construction sector to maximize the opportunities in the global market as it seeks recovery amid the pandemic.

Local construction players, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an event on Monday, should take advantage of the “evolving” global economic landscape.

“That’s why while construction opportunities in the domestic market are abundant due to the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program, the industry needs to be versatile to take advantage of the opportunities in the global market,” he pointed out.

The Philippines’s free trade agreements (FTA) with other economies allow the local players to participate in more business activities and job generation, according to Lopez.

“FTAs offer a more stable, predictable and fair environment for Filipino businesses and investments, including those in the construction and related engineering sector,” Lopez explained.

“For local construction services, the Philippines was able to secure liberal arrangements in foreign markets, including 100-percent foreign equity participation in activities like general construction work for buildings and civil engineering, among others,” he added.

Philippine-based companies are guaranteed this arrangement, Lopez said, via the country’s trade deals with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Australia, China, the European Trade Association, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

In addition, Lopez said, the Philippines is also part of the major trade pact Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. RCEP was signed by 10 Asean member-states and five Asean FTA partners—Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand—in November last year.

“Through RCEP, Filipino construction companies can now provide more services in RCEP-participating countries that would bring in more job opportunities for Filipinos,” Lopez said.

The trade department said it continues to roll out programs supporting the constructions firms’ operations. Lopez said the DTI seeks to further explore and promote partnerships with foreign firms to upgrade the skills of the work force.

The DTI, the trade official said, is “also helping Filipino construction companies increase their economies of scale and expand their scope of services by actively encouraging and supporting activities that lead to the export of technical and managerial expertise.”

Lopez said the pandemic has stressed the urgency for improvement in productivity, capacity-building programs and push for further innovation in the construction sector.

Last year, total construction spending fell to P2.2 trillion—comprising 13 percent of the gross domestic product—from P3.2 trillion in 2019 amid the slowdown in business activities.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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