PH exports seen to grow by 12-15% in 2018

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is targeting a 12-to 15-percent growth in merchandise exports next year, hoping the export industry will continue its recovery.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez recently told reporters that he was still expecting next year’s performance to build on the current growth, which would push exports farther from where it was in 2016, a time which he described as “challenging.”

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), merchandise exports fell 4.4 percent in 2016 when compared to year-ago level.

Recent data, however, showed that exports grew by 11.7 percent in the first 10 months of this year to $53.11 billion from $47.55 in the comparative period in 2016.

The data cited did not cover the country’s total exports which also included services.

“Hopefully, (export) will do better next year, growing by 12 to 15 [percent]. That’s our target,” Lopez said when asked for the 2018 target.

This is all building up to reach the target export value by the end of the Duterte administration, which was set at the range of $122 billion to $131 billion.

The target is based on the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) that would cover President Duterte’s six-year term, and which would provide strategies and programs that would allow the government to reach its targets. The current PEDP plan covers 2015 to 2017.

Lopez also said that DTI would work on diversifying the current merchandise exports, which were currently dominated by electronic products, a commodity group that generally accounted for about half of the yearly merchandise shipments overseas.

He said he would like to see increases in the country’s exports of agricultural products, furniture, garments and others.

Exporters, however, would like to exceed the government’s targets, according to Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado.

 “The export industry is more bullish. They (exporters) all would like to exceed the target,” she said.

She also echoed the sentiment of the trade chief, noting the need to diversify not only the country’s export products but also its markets. She said markets needed to be developed.

She said investors had been looking for a “resurgence” in the agriculture sector, similar to what is happening in manufacturing. -


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