MANILA – The country’s trade chief has called on fellow ministers in Southeast Asia to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) during the 37th Meeting of ASEAN Free Trade Area Council in Semarang, Indonesia.

Secretary Alfredo Pascual highlighted that the upgrade of the ATIGA is an opportune time to address trade issues within the ASEAN, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement over the weekend.

During the meeting, Pascual mentioned that the updating the ATIGA should address the long-standing issues in availing of preferential market access within the region.

“He recommended the establishment of a mechanism to address the timely resolution of these trade issues in order to fully realize the benefits of ATIGA and encourage stakeholders to utilize the agreement,” the DTI added.

Pascual also updated his fellow ASEAN trade ministers that the Philippine government remains committed to digitalize trade through the implementation of the National Single Window or TradeNet, a platform for automated and integrated licensing, permitting, clearance, and certification system of trade regulatory government agencies relative to the import and export trade of regulated goods.

The DTI chief also said the Philippines is on track to fully issue and accept electronic Certificate of Origin Form D — a document certifying that goods in a particular shipment were wholly obtained, produced, or processed in a particular country — within the year.

“The DTI works closely with the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Finance on this endeavor,” DTI added. (PNA)