Maes F. Alconcel is an international trade expert, with over fifteen years of experience on advancing trade and investment initiatives, expanding market access for products and services, and addressing trade policy issues facing businesses in the Asia-Pacific/ASEAN region. She assists governments, international organizations and companies on how to successfully venture into Asia-Pacific/ASEAN markets through well-designed market access and regulatory compliance strategies, leveraging preferential trade agreements (e.g., FTAs, CEPAs) and/or generalized systems of preferences (GSP), as well supporting trade negotiations and strategic private sector engagement and advocacy.
Maes began her career as an international trade negotiator for the Philippines (2005-2014), focusing in the areas of tariff liberalization, rules of origin, removal of non-tariff barriers, customs procedures, and trade facilitation within the ASEAN economic integration process. In 2015, she decided to be directly involved in helping companies, especially SMEs, participate in international trade by advising them 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 in order to promote the use of FTAs by Singapore-based companies, and represented/advocated the Singapore business community’s interests and needs (focusing on trade in services and digital/e-commerce trade) 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. She continues to upskill by pursuing an Executive Master’s Degree in International Trade at the IE University in Madrid, Spain (as a recipient of the ITC SheTrades scholarship program).
She regularly conducts trainings/workshops for trade officials and businesses on international trade matters, as well as speaks at international and regional trade events.