DTI pilots e-commerce export program for SME

Online selling is a form of digital presence that Makati Chamber is promoting in line with this year’s strategic thrust.

The Export Promotion Division of THE Trade Department is preparing a P25 million initiative to link small companies to customers in the United States via e-commerce.

When scaled up, the system will enroll 5000 small and medium-sized businesses (micro, small and medium-sized businesses) in a digital network and logistics infrastructure tailored for the processing of low-value shipments.

DTI Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) Director Senen M. Perlada said in a phone interview Monday that the pilot project for the software would involve 10 exporters. They would be shipping limited shipments falling below the level for duty and taxes directly to foreign customers.

“They can actually do e-commerce all the way to some selected markets. These are not big shipments; these are those falling within the values that are made available by different markets.”

The program will connect Philippine businesses to digital transaction services, warehouse logistics, and online marketplaces like Amazon.

The businesses in the pilot program sell mostly food products, he said.

Mr. Perlada said the initial scale-up move will be to about 200 businesses this year.

He hopes to increase this further to 5,000 MSMEs next year, with additional funding from the government’s economic stimulus package. He said the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy law could also fund logistics warehousing for businesses to expand to commercial shipments.

The 5,000 businesses would require P25 million in funding to sign on to the e-commerce program, he said.

Global consumption has, however, been declining in response to the pandemic. But Mr. Perlada said that there is some demand for business-to-consumer exports.

“That’s a transition period because remember the idea why you want to get into these platforms, because of the analytics, nalalaman ng mga retailers (retailers find out) how products perform. They also want to do this to get a feel of what the mass market is.”

He expects strong demand for food products, especially health-related goods. Gifts and houseware, he said, will see less demand.

Mr. Perlada said the e-commerce program will be gradual, as the bureau will have to assist businesses new to digital tools.

TechCellar, a member of Makati Chamber (PCCI-Makati), offers free consultation on how to leverage digital technology to reach new customers in the Philippines and even cross-border or around the world.

Source: www.bworldonline.com

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