Export revenues ‘to grow 10%’

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Monday, April 28, 2014


EXPORT revenues are expected to grow 10 percent in the next three years, with the recovery of the electronics sector and improved economy of global markets, said Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr.

“We are setting an objective of at least 10 percent growth in export output annually because the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by seven percent...the export sector is 45 percent of the GDP and any growth below 7.5 percent will not be good,” said Manalo, the undersecretary for Trade and Investment Promotions Group (TIPG) and chair of the Export Development Council Executive Committee.

Manalo issued the statement in an interview during the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2014-2016 Consultation Workshop in Cebu.

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“I don’t know how this will be achieved but hopefully the sectors can find a way to do that...But I am hopeful we will be able to achieve that because we have a very strong export electronics market that is rebounding at 22 percent in the last two months,” he said.

The electronics sector covers 40 percent of the country’s total export industry.

The PEDP 2014-2016 is expected to outline the exports revenue targets within the three-year period, in consideration of problems affecting local and international markets.

The consultations with industry players were meant to gather inputs and come up with realistic exports performance target for the period.

Manalo said the credit rating upgrades and the overall healthy economic fundamentals of the country are factors that will help drive exports growth. This is on top of improvement in the global market for electronic devices and the recovery of key areas such as US and Europe.

Challenges

He said the industry has also weathered challenges posed by the global financial crisis and natural calamities.

“Now is a good time for the country, because everything is up,” he said.

Manalo said he is optimistic with high-value entrants in the market. “What we really hope to see is a growth in export volume over the next two to three years,” he said.

Last year, merchandise exports grew by 3.6 percent while the services sector grew by 16.6 percent, contributing 45.5 percent to the country’s GDP.

Apolinar Suarez, chairman of Philexport Cebu and a member of the EDC, said that under the current PEDP, overall exports, covering both merchandise goods and services, are projected to reach $120 billion by 2016. However, slow global demand prompted the government to revise its export growth targets.

Earlier, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Gregory Domingo announced it has trimmed down its growth targets by 8.6 percent to $82 billion this year from $98 billion, 10.4 percent to $90.6 in 2015 from the projected $108 billion and 11.91 percent to $101.3 billion in 2016 from $120 billion.

The upcoming Asean 2015 integration also presents opportunities to Philippine export products.

“The Asean Economic Community (AEC) integration gives us the opportunity to be competitive. It is all up to us on how we are going to compete in the Asean and in the world...We should not remain complacent but be vigilant,” he said.

The AEC has about 500 million consumers, which according to Manalo is already a huge market for the country’s export products.

To help exporters, Manalo said the government will continue to implement domestic policy reforms like lowering the cost of shipping and power; addressing the flaws in the implementation of the mandatory credit allocations for micro, small and medium enterprises; institutionalizing a competitive exchange rate; facilitating trade through customs modernization; improving access to capacity building programs, education and technology; and increasing government budget for export promotion, among others.

Promotions

He said the government also mounted a shared services facility program that aims to improve the export value chain, especially among the small and micro exporters.

In terms of market promotions, Manalo said they have been aggressive in engaging export companies in joining local and international trade fairs. “Local trade fairs, for instance, have gone up from three to 11 this year,” he said.

The Cebu consultation is the last leg of the consultation. The output will be submitted next month and the PEDP will be presented to President Benigno Aquino II for approval in June.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 29, 2014.

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