The Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China agreed to strengthen the established strategic cooperative relationship by focusing on the growth of electronic commerce between the two countries.
DTI Secretary Fred Pascual and Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao signed on January 4, 2023 a Memorandum of Understanding on Electronic Commerce Cooperation, which was also witnessed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as part of his three-day state visit.
The MOU identified three areas of cooperation: (1) Promoting trade of high-quality featured products and services; (2) Pursuing business exchanges between MSMEs and e-commerce platforms, start-ups, and logistics service providers; and (3) Sharing of best practices and innovative experiences in utilizing e-commerce.
Both the Philippines and China are set to cooperate to create an enabling environment for the development and growth of e-commerce on the basis of mutual benefits. Secretary Fred Pascual expressed great optimism towards the MOU.
“This agreement will facilitate the sharing of experiences, best practices, critical information, and policies related to trade and e-commerce. We look forward to interventions that will promote consumer and merchant protection, intellectual property, data security, and privacy laws. This MOU will be beneficial in building the capacity of our local businesses to cope with the modernizing business sector,” Secretary Pascual said.
“This will also operationalize Agenda #17 of the e-Commerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap concerning the enhancement of cross-border cooperation and market access through trade agreements and economic cooperation programs with major e-commerce trading partners,” he added.
Further, the Memorandum opens doors for possible collaboration between the Philippines and China in undertaking joint case studies and capacity building programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of MSMEs and maximize the potentials of e-commerce.
Research institutions, industrial organizations, and local governments are also encouraged to utilize e-commerce as a means to develop cooperation.
In pursuit of the initiatives listed in the MOU, a Working Group on Electronic Commerce will also be established to be the focal point of coordination and the main source of information.
The opportunity for e-commerce growth in the Philippines is bright. In 2022, Google Temasek and Bain & Company identified the Philippines as one of the frontrunners in digital economy, together with Vietnam. Further, the study reported that the digital economy is expected to grow twice as fast as the GDP through 2030.