By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star), December 8, 2016
The Philippines targets to reach the $100-billion milestone next year under the original Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017, but successive setbacks in the country’s export growth behind sluggish global trade have prompted government and export group officials to scale down and push back targets. AP/Koji Sasahara
MANILA, Philippines – Weak global demand has derailed the Philippines’ rosy export growth plan, with the country now pushing back its target of breaching the $100-billion export revenue mark by three years or until 2020.
The Philippines targets to reach the $100-billion milestone next year under the original Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2015-2017, but successive setbacks in the country’s export growth behind sluggish global trade have prompted government and export group officials to scale down and push back targets.
“If we grow between three to five percent, we have a good chance to breach the $100-billion mark by 2020. But if it grows at a seven-percent rate then we can reach that by 2019,” Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado said yesterday during the 2016 National Export Congress.
Under the revised PEDP, export growth target has been slashed between zero to three percent from its original forecast of 6.6 to 8.8 percent.
Merchandise exports are seen ending flat by yearend, while services exports are expected to increase nine percent.
For next year, meanwhile, total exports growth has likewise been cut to three to five percent from its previous 7.7 to 10.6 percent growth forecast.
Outbound shipments of goods are targeted to grow three percent, while that of services are seen rising eight percent year-on-year in 2017.
The successful implementation of the strategies laid out under the PEDP for this year and next is expected to boost employment generation by 225,000 and 600,000 more, respectively.
“The market went down and down, and we realized the market is really very sluggish. So now, we’re moving our targets. Let’s breach the $100-billion revenue first and then we will eye $120 billion by 2022,” Terrado said.
“The global trade must also improve. Economies around the world are concerned about the prolonged sluggish trade,” she added.
For the past 17 months, exports have been on the decline due to the global economic slowdown.
It was only last September when exports posted an increase of 5.1 percent, with total sales of $5.2 billion.
Electronic products remained the top export while Japan maintained its spot as the top export destination.
Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. president and CEO Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said this year’s total exports growth target of zero to three percent is “achievable” while next year’s forecast is “doable.”
“We hope the growth will continue because before we saw the increase in September, we are afraid we will turn out negative because it will require heavy lifting from services to make the total positive. So it’s a good thing that merchandise exports went up which is why I think we will probably end the year within the target of zero to three percent,” Ortiz-Luis said.
For next year’s exports growth, Ortiz-Luis said one of the key growth drivers he sees is the renewed trade partnership between the Philippines and China.