Exporters are confident of a double-digit growth this year on the back of projected firming recovery of major markets, efforts to double funding for overseas product promotions and the peso’s depreciation.
Speaking during the recent 3rd quarter general membership meeting, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. cited recent business surveys and industrial production data pointing to a firming up of the recovery in the United States (US) and Europe, with the US economy showing renewed strength into next year.
The US followed Japan as the top exports markets for the Philippines in July 2017. By economic bloc, the European Union (EU) member countries ranked third, following East Asia and ASEAN member countries.
Ortiz-Luis said trade between developing countries, or South-South trade, is also projected to reach one-third of world trade by 2020.
He pointed that the BRICS bloc, or Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is betting more on “blue ocean” for development given their abundant natural resources and strong growth momentum.
He said closer cooperation and trade on offshore oil and gas, port construction and logistics on the sea are expected among its member-economies and partners.
As China pledged tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure financing and development aid as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative, Ortiz-Luis added that nearly 70 countries have signed agreements with China to promote economic integration and free global trade under such initiative.
The export group chief noted the EU is also resuming the process of a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN and a series of bilateral FTAs, amidst growing concerns of protectionism.
This, as some of its main competitors, such as Japan, China and Korea, inked ASEAN agreements.
“This complements the result of a recent survey among European firms which showed that they are bullish on the Philippines and are ready to expand their businesses here,” he said during the group’s general membership meeting this week.
Moreover, Ortiz-Luis believes that higher budget for overseas product promotions can boost export competitiveness, noting that neighboring competitors are enjoying hefty subsidies that are giving them the competitive edge.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has sought the doubling of the government budget for international product promotions to be able to compete with other countries in marketing products and services of micro, small and medium enterprises.
Ortiz-Luis further noted the country’s robust economic growth and industry performance, and the peso which is trending to the favor of dollar-generating sectors, like exports.
“This gives us a positive signal that demand is recovering… If this trend is sustained, we can be more confident of a double-digit growth. But still, we have a lot of catching up to do given the impressive performance from some Asian economies…,” he said.
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