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Philippines Digital Trade Dialogue

Philippines, Virtual

The Asia Foundation

The eTrade Alliance and the Asia Foundation co-hosted a Digital Trade Dialogue on June 17th, 2021, bringing together expert speakers from government, private sector, as well as MSME entrepreneurs to discuss the state of ecommerce in the Philippines, current challenges, and possible solutions. The Alliance looked to support through this engagement the implementation of the Philippine Ecommerce Roadmap 2022 and the participation of Philippine MSMEs, especially women-led and rural MSMEs, in domestic and cross-border ecommerce, with discussions on:


  • Challenges to Philippine MSMEs’ use of ecommerce and engagement in domestic and cross-border ecommerce;


  • Policy and technology solutions to these challenges in several key areas such as cross-border payments, ecommerce capacity-building, logistics and trade facilitation, and trade integration;


  • Ideas on pilot programs and policy initiatives to operationalize discussed solutions to promote MSME ecommerce, including through the Alliance’s work, both at national and local levels.


 Welcoming Remarks (20 minutes) 

  • Jeff Goebel, Director of Economic Development and Governance Office, USAID Mission to the Philippines 

  • Sam Chittick, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation - Philippines 


Introduction to the eTrade Alliance’s work; diagnostics on Philippine MSMEs’ use of ecommerce and on adoption of policies conducive to ecommerce in the Philippines (10 minutes) 

  • Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group and Technical Director of eTrade Alliance 


Introduction to the Philippines eCommerce Roadmap: from launch to implementation (10 minutes) 

  • Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, Digital Philippines and Ecommerce Lead, Department of Trade and Industry 



Breakout Panel Discussions 

Panel 1: First steps in digital journeys: best practices in enabling “last-mile” rural micro enterprises in ecommerce (60 minutes) 

  • Jerry Clavesillas, Director, Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, DTI 

  • Keren Lacadin, Chief Geek, Clevergrit Webservices 

  • Jacqueline Ugokwe, Geo Program Manager, Google Plus Codes 

  • Katrina Chan, Director, QBO 

  • Moderator: Elvin Uy, Executive Director, Philippine Business for Social Progress 


Panel 2: From social sellers and Sari-Sari stores to online sellers: how to enable urban retailers and MSMEs to use ecommerce and other online platforms for services (60 minutes) 

  • Mary Jean Pacheco, Assistant Secretary, Digital Philippines and Ecommerce Lead, DTI 

  • Mark Joaquin Ruiz, President, Hapinoy 

  • Shasha Yao, Customer Success Manager, VTEX 

  • Joie Cruz, Chief Visionary Officer, Limitless Lab 

  • Marge Defensor, Global Master Facilitator, British Council Active Citizens 

  • Mia Icasiano-Bulatao, President and COO, Quad X 

  • Daniel Wolbert, Country Manager, Philippines, Visa 

  • Moderator: Dr. Francis Quimba, Philippine Institute for Development Studies 

Panel 3: Internationalizing Philippine MSMEs through eCommerce: making cross-border logistics, payments, and order management work (60 minutes) 

  • Herminio Rommel Verzosa III, Customs Operations Officer IV, Imports Assessment Office, Bureau of Customs 

  • Sahra English, Vice President of Global Public Policy, MasterCard 

  • Craig Blakely, Senior eCommerce Expert, USAID Pro ICT Project 

  • Fatimah Zahrah Alsagoff, Director of Asia Pacific Public Policy, UPS 

  • Pablo Che Leon Sarmiento, Head of Customer Success, VTEX 

  • Moderator: Ethan Geary, Deputy Country Representative, The Asia Foundation - Philippines 


Panel 4: Trade policy options to enable MSME ecommerce – leveraging RCEP, considering CPTPP and other trade agreements (60 minutes) 

  • Atty. Allan Gepty, Assistant Secretary, Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, Department of Trade and Industry 

  • Eunice Huang, Head of APAC Trade Policy, Google 

  • Barbara Kotschwar, Executive Director, Visa Economic Empowerment Institute 

  • Raymond Yee, Vice President for Customs and Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express 

  • Tengfei Wang, Economic Affairs Officer, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 

  • Alisa DiCaprio, Head of Trade and Supply Chain, R3 

  • Moderator: Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group 


Panel moderators report back on pilot and policy ideas (20 minutes) 

Concluding discussion (10 minutes) 

Virtual Event
June 17th, 2021
Bring together policymakers, regulators, and leading technology companies to discuss policy and technology solutions to Philippine MSME pain points in ecommerce, and together develop ideas for new pilots and solutions
Policymakers, regulators, leading technology and ecommerce ecosystem companies
The Asia Foundation
Target Audience
Program Type
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