Sec. 1609. Promotion of Foreign Trade 

Promotion of Foreign Trade – (a) For the purpose of expanding foreign markets for Philippine products as a means of assisting in the economic development of the country, in overcoming domestic unemployment, in increasing the purchasing power of the Philippine peso, and in establishing and maintaining better relations between the Philippines and other countries, the President, shall , from time to time:

(1) Enter into trade agreements with foreign governments or instrumentalities thereof; and

(2) Modify import duties, including any necessary change in classification and other import restrictions as are required or appropriate to carry out and promote foreign trade with other countries: Provided, That in modifying import duties or fixing import quota, the requirements prescribed in subsection (a) of Section 1608 of this Act shall be observed: Provided, however, That any modification in import duties and the fixing of import quotas pursuant to the various trade agreements the Philippines has entered into, shall not be subject to the limitations of aforesaid subsection (a) of Section 1608.

(b) The duties and other import restrictions as modified in subsection (a) of this section, shall apply to goods which are the growth, produce, manufacture of the specific country, whether imported directly or indirectly, with which the Philippines has entered into a trade agreement: Provided, That the President may suspend the application of any concession to goods which are the growth, produce, or manufactured product of the specific country because of acts or policies which tend to defeat the purposes set in this section, including the operations of international cartels; and the duties and other import restrictions as negotiated shall be in force and effect from and after such time as specified in the order, without prejudice to the Philippine commitments in any ratified international agreement or treaty.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to give any authority to cancel or reduce in any manner the indebtedness of any foreign country to the Philippines or any claim of the Philippines against any foreign country.

(d) Before any trade agreement is concluded with any foreign government or instrumentality thereof, reasonable public notice of the intention to negotiate an agreement with such government or instrumentality shall be given in order that interested persons may have an opportunity to present their views to the Commission. The Commission shall seek information and advice from the DTI, DA, DOF, DENR, DFA and BSP, and from such other sources as it may deem appropriate.

(e) In advising the President, on a trade agreement entered into by the Philippines, the following shall be observed:

(1) The Commission shall determine whether or not the domestic industry has suffered or is being threatened with injury and whether or not the wholesale prices at which the domestic products are sold are reasonable, taking into account the cost of raw materials, labor, overhead, a fair return on investment, and the overall efficiency of the industry.

(2) The NEDA shall evaluate the report of the Commission and submit recommendations to the President.

(3) Upon receipt of the report of the findings and recommendations of the NEDA, the President may prescribe adjustments in the rates of import duties, withdraw, modify or suspend, in whole or in part, any concession under any trade agreement, establish import quota, or institute such other import restrictions, as the NEDA recommends to be necessary in order to fully protect domestic industry and the consumers, subject to the condition that the wholesale prices of the domestic products shall be reduced to, or maintained at, the level recommended by the NEDA unless, for good cause shown, an increase thereof, as recommended by the NEDA, is authorized by the President. Should increases be made without such authority, the NEDA shall immediately notify the President who shall allow the importation of competing products in such quantities as to protect the public from the unauthorized increase in wholesale prices.

(f) This section shall not prevent the effectivity of any executive agreement or any future preferential trade agreement with any foreign country.

(g) The NEDA and the Commission shall promulgate such reasonable procedures, rules and regulations as they may deem necessary to execute their respective functions under this section.