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Philippines DTI launches platform for first virtual national trade fair

Government agencies in the Philippines are looking at adopting more digital initiatives in an attempt to streamline their projects this year and bring their activities closer to the public through virtual means.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) joins this roster of government departments, all intent on accelerating digital transformation amidst the global health crisis. In a press release, the DTI announced that it is putting up its first Virtual National Trade Fair, which will be held from 27 January to 2 February. 

The event has gained popularity as an avenue for consumers who wish to purchase their favourite products from different regions in the country. It was also considered as a platform where buyers can negotiate with sellers and place bulk orders of merchandise. 

This year, the DTI said it will be hosting the trade fair using a different medium due to the new normal, but with the same intent of providing sellers in different areas of the country the chance to showcase their products. The department added that as the fair would be held virtually, they are anticipating that it will become more accessible to a larger consumer market, even consumers outside Metro Manila and those outside the country. 

The Trade and Industry department thus urged the public to attend the online trade fair which can be accessed through a website dedicated to that purpose. It advised those who wish to participate in the trade fair to visit the website and register. After completing the registration process, participants will receive a confirmation email that contains a unique access link to be used to enter the programme during a particular date. On the day of the event, end-users may simply click on the access link from their emails and proceed to join the virtual trade fair of the DTI. 

Upon entering the site, attendees may browse through various tabs on the homepage, including those for the Exhibition Hall, Conference Hall, Featured Products and List of Participants/Visitor Guide. By clicking the Exhibition button, users will be able to see the virtual booths of sellers and be able to browse their product offers. Consumers may also talk to sellers to ask for more details about the latter’s items. For any concerns that may arise during the fair, a live hotline representative will be available to assist through chats and video calls. 

Each virtual booth shall contain the background information of the seller company and their contact information. Downloadable files including product brochures and catalogues shall likewise be made available. Also, participants of the online trade fair may attend some scheduled learning sessions and webinars which can be accessed under the Conference Hall tab. The DTI also mentioned that the fair will be open to the public for free for 8 hours starting at 10 am.  

The integration of physical transactions into digital platforms is one of the goals of several government agencies in the country. New digital schemes, including e-commerce and virtual payment schemes, have been adopted even before the onset of safety restrictions due to the pandemic. 

As reported earlier by OpenGov Asia, the Maritime Industry Authority of MARINA announced that it has signed a deal with a state-owned lender to integrate cashless payments for MARINA services. Under the agreement, MARINA’s payment facility will be connected to the bank’s virtual payment channel. This would allow the government and members of the private sector to cash in on MARINA’s products and services with the ease and convenience provided by online transactions. The portal was launched in a bid to lessen physical contact and limit indirect costs that come along with cash and physical transactions of in-kind goods. 

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