MANILA, Philippines—Despite concerns earlier this year, Philippine trade authorities are now confident the country can beat this year the record-high exports set in 2010.
This will help the country meet its medium-term export targets, said Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio at the National Export Congress in Pasay City.
“We want to hit $52 billion to $53 billion in merchandise exports by the end of the year, which will be an all-time high,” Panlilio said, noting that this would entail a growth rate higher than the 10 percent target for this year.
The trade official said the government and various industry associations wanted to see this year’s merchandise exports to exceed the $51.4-billion record posted in 2010. Exports went down to $48 billion in 2011.
Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. told reporters that a 9- to 10-percent growth this year from the 2011 level was achievable. Exporters, he said, were working on improving their competitiveness.
Both Panlilio and Ortiz-Luis noted that electronics still accounted for the bulk of Philippine merchandise exports. However, they said non-electronics exports—including housewares, furniture, giftwares and food products—were increasing.
The country’s exports in the first nine months of 2012 grew by 7.2 percent to about $40 billion from $37.4 billion in the same period in 2011, according to National Statistics Office data.
Should merchandise exports reach $52 billion to $53 billion, this year’s overall exports, inclusive of BPO-led services exports, could reach $66 billion. This will help the Philippines gain momentum to achieve $120 billion in total exports in 2016.
“That’s $92 billion for merchandise and around $28 billion in services exports for 2016,” Panlilio said.
Authorities called on industry associations to avail themselves of the government’s shared services facilities (SSF) program to improve their competitiveness and ease their cost.
“The DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] can donate equipment for common, cooperative use,” Panlilio said. “The SSF budget for 2013 is P770 million. Let’s race to avail ourselves of the assistance under this program.”