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Imports, exports exceed government estimates

KEEPING up with market trends, intensifying market research and strengthening linkages with foreign retailers would help drive exports growth, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said Friday, February 9.

In a statement, the economic planning body noted that imports and exports in 2017 exceeded government estimates.

Imports grew 10.2 percent while exports expanded by 9.5 percent, pushing total merchandise trade growth for the full year 2017 to 9.9 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

The Development Budget Coordinating Committee earlier estimated growth rates of only 9 percent for imports and 8 percent for exports.

PSA said total trade expanded by 8.6 percent alone.

Neda Director General Ernesto Pernia, who is also the Socioeconomic Planning secretary, said the government should continue implementing strategies that would heighten demand for Philippine-made products to sustain merchandise trade growth.

“We need to effectively respond to market trends and consumer preferences worldwide to drive more demand for Philippine-made products,” he said.

He also cited the need to forge tighter linkages with businesses, malls and shopping centers abroad to help increase the visibility of Philippine export products.

Pernia said export volumes may increase for banana, coconut, and other agricultural produce if free trade agreements are maximized to bring down tariffs levied on these products in the global market. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)


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