Home » Customs & Trade, Press Releases » PH goods trade up 9.9% in 2017

Total merchandise trade for the Philippines for full-year 2017 increased by 9.9% as imports and exports both posted positive growth rates that are higher than government estimates.

Imports and exports last year posted 10.2% and 9.5% growth rates, respectively, exceeding the Development Budget Coordinating Committee’s emerging estimates of 9% for imports and 8% for exports.

The full-year rate was also pushed up by the 8.6% growth in December 2017, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Last year’s total trade was also better than the 5.8% full-year trade growth recorded in 2016, PSA noted.

Imports in December 2017 posted a hefty growth of 17.6% as all commodity groups registered increases. Exports, however, declined 4.9%, its only negative growth for 2017 and first decline since November 2016.

The National Economic and Development Authority in a statement said the government should continue to implement strategies that heighten demand for Philippine-made products in order 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,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

This can be done by gathering timely and relevant information on emerging demands in potential markets through the help of diplomatic posts and trade attachés, the Cabinet official added.

Moreover, intensified market research and tighter linkages with businesses, malls, and shopping centers abroad will help increase the visibility of Philippine export products.

“To drive exports growth, we are also looking at maximizing trade agreements with countries in the region,” Pernia said.

He noted that export volumes may increase especially for banana, coconut, and other agricultural produce by negotiating tariff structures and implementing free trade agreements to bring down tariffs levied on Philippine agricultural exports in major export markets.

For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry plans to increase the marketing for halal food, fashion, and textiles by helping the local halal industry to consolidate and produce better-quality goods.

“On the domestic front, the Philippine economy is also set to maintain an upward momentum with higher infrastructure spending on account of the Build, Build, Build program. With improved infrastructure landscape, we could reduce the cost of doing business,” Pernia added.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the Board of Investments also expect expanding confidence and interest among investors this year, particularly in upstream industries like cement, steel, shipbuilding and petrochemicals.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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