Exporters call for global product compliance standards

Exporters are urging the government to implement global product quality compliance standards to improve international trade. 

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. in a statement Friday said the use of global supply chain standards would promote product safety and improve business transition to digital systems. 

Philexport President Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. during his opening remarks at the GS1 Philippines National Conference said the government should “seriously consider globally accepted standards to develop not only trust in cross-border and domestic trade but also ensure consumer safety and protection.” 

Roberto C. Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc., said during the same event that global standards compliance is crucial in agriculture and food production. 

Producers, consumers, and policy makers can work together in adopting standards that would reduce the risk of food contamination, which Mr. Amores said could threaten productivity. 

“The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic halted further the growth and development which we would like to see in the food and agriculture sector,” he said.  

“For us to reach full throttle in agriculture, one very significant component is food and agriculture safety that can be met consistently through standards and traceability. Without any form of standard or criteria in the food supply chain, food security and self-sufficiency may not come to fruition for us.” 

The export industry has been experiencing pandemic-related constraints. The global shipping industry has been facing a shortage of vessel space as industries catch up with a demand rebound, pushing freight rates higher and delaying goods shipments. 

E-business firm 8Layer Technologies Director for Agritech Jim Leandro Cano said that the lockdowns declared to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.  

Traceability, or a system tracking products from production to consumption, would improve food safety and identify inefficiencies in the food supply chain, he said. 

“The Philippine agricultural supply and value chains are very fragmented and has been fragmented for the last decades, and needs a lot of integrated solutions,” he said. 

He added that traceability would track environmental and health metrics and give farmers the ability to access loans by helping them create records. 

Goods exports in June grew 17.6% year on year to $6.51 billion, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. — Jenina P. Ibañez