MARIA ESPERANZA (MAES) F. ALCONCEL
Advisor Government Affairs – Philippines & Trade Agreements
Maes is based in Manila, the Philippines. She advises clients on market entry, development and growth in the Philippines. She has a vast network of stakeholder with the public and private sectors due to her 20 years of experience working in government, ASEAN and the private sector.
As our Advisor for Regional Trade Policy, she advises clients on trade and investment policy issues facing businesses in the emerging markets. She develops trade and customs compliance and strategies. She advises how businesses could leverage on free trade agreements (FTAs) to reduce trade costs as well as tap on opportunities of international trade arrangements and initiatives. She is also our key trainer for government institutions, companies and associations on the ASEAN FTAs, CPTPP and RCEP.
She began her career as an international trade negotiator for the Philippines (2005-2014), representing the country’s interests in the areas of tariff liberalisation, rules of origin (ROO), removal of non-tariff barriers, and customs procedures and trade facilitation under the ASEAN economic integration setting. In 2015, she decided to be directly involved in helping companies, especially SMEs, participate in international trade. She started as a business consultant (2015-2016), where she advised companies on international trade compliance and strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
Subsequently, she embarked on a bigger role as the head of the FTAs and International Relations Department of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), where she developed Singapore’s FTA education and outreach program that aims to promote the use of FTAs by Singapore-based companies, and represented/advocated the Singapore business community’s interests and needs at various international trade/business platforms (e.g. International Chamber of Commerce, APEC Business Advisory Council, Asia Pacific Services Coalition, Business 20, East Asia Business Council, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, etc.).
Maes earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration from the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (as a Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship recipient). She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (double major in Economics and Political Science) from the University of the Philippines.