By National Economic and Development Authority, December 10, 2019

Image Credit to National Economic and Development Authority

Exploring alternative production strategies, participating in international trade fairs, and implementing consistent branding strategies are needed to increase the presence of Philippine products in the global market, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the country’s total trade in October 2019 reached US$15.9 billion from US$15 billion in the previous month. The slight improvement was brought about by the positive growth rate in exports, but was 6.7 percent lower compared to the same period in 2018.

“The modest recovery in the country’s trade figures for October 2019 backs the expectations that the export sector will remain relatively steady despite the global slowdown associated with the US-China trade war. This also aligns well with the country’s overall GDP growth target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent for 2019,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

Trade exports benefited from the uptick in earnings from agro-based products, mainly fruits and vegetables; manufactured articles aided in drawing back the previous month’s decline to register a 0.1-percent gain in October 2019.

On the other hand, imports decelerated by 10.8 percent as reduced orders for raw materials & intermediate goods, capital goods, mineral fuels, and consumer goods weakened overall growth of imports.

“Possible downside risks, particularly the lingering vulnerabilities and spillovers associated with the trade tensions, need to be managed,” added the Cabinet official.

To counter external risks, Pernia underscored the country’s need to improve competitiveness through the institutionalization of policies and processes that will streamline, facilitate and bring down the cost of doing business, which are important factors in making the country more flexible to any eventualities that may impact the economy.

“We need to take advantage of the country’s capacities on key products and building skills expertise and economies of scale to adapt and harness the benefits from emerging technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence,” he said.

“This will also enable the sector to climb a notch in the global value chain and transition into more value-adding and specialized production,” Pernia added.

Furthermore, refocusing market strategies towards capitalizing on design-centric and quality- driven products and employing niche marketing should be done for Philippine products to make its mark in international markets.

“A concerted and targeted effort that will have the support of relevant government agencies to fully implement the interconnection should be prioritized to ensure that our exporters are given the necessary platform to remain at par with the rest of the ASEAN, besides strengthening our integration within ASEAN” he said.