The Philippines’ chief economist expects to see a more vibrant industry sector in 2013 as the government focuses on key industries and strives to ease the processes and costs in doing business.
“Our key priority sectors, namely tourism, business process outsourcing or BPO, electronics, housing and real estate, agribusiness and forest-based products, logistics and shipbuilding, will be given more focus. We need also to consolidate the various industry roadmaps to further fuel the industry sector, especially manufacturing,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
He said that despite recent difficulties, including weak traditional markets in Europe and the United States, as well as supply chain disruptions in Japan and Thailand, the electronics industry could still contribute to the manufacturing sector.
“We see an improved manufacturing sector buoyed by the semiconductor and electronics industry as the world economy is expected to recover between 2013 and 2014,” Balisacan said. To be competitive amid challenging global conditions, the Aquino administration would focus on certain industries, including manufacturing, he said.
Trade officials agreed that the manufacturing sector could be revived, noting strong interest among foreign investors. Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said the government was also training manufacturers and exporters on how to take advantage of bilateral partnerships and free-trade agreements to boost profit and diversify their markets.
Manufacturing is widely believed to still hold promise for the Philippines even as its contribution to economic expansion fell through the years to just about a third of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of 2012 from a high of about 43 percent in the early 1980s. The services sector, fueled by remittances and BPOs, has taken over as the main driver of GDP growth, which further fuels consumption, according to the recent Deutsche Bank report titled “Manufacturing: A New Growth Driver.”