DBCC scales down ’19 export growth forecast
Despite expectations of slower external trade growth in the near term, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is bullish about prospects of halal exports boosting Philippine shipments amid peace in Mindanao.
During Thursday’s meeting of the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), the interagency body approved the sharp cut in goods exports growth target to only 2 percent this year from 6 percent previously.
The DBCC kept the 2020-2022 merchandise exports growth targets at 6 percent yearly.
The DBCC’s projection for goods imports growth for 2019 was also reduced to 7 percent from the 9 percent set during the previous meeting in March.
It nonetheless kept the 8-percent annual growth target for merchandise imports for the period 2020-2022.
As for services exports, the DBCC’s new growth projection of 9 percent annually between 2019 and 2022 was lower than 10 percent for 2019 and 11 percent for 2020-2022 previously.
For services imports, growth was expected to slow to 3 percent this year, 4 percent next year and 5 percent in 2021 and 2022.
Last March, the DBCC’s projections for services imports growth were rosier at 5 percent for 2019, 6 percent in 2020 and 7 percent in 2021-2022.
As of end-May, the latest preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that merchandise exports were down 1.3 percent year-on-year to $28.11 billion, while imports were up 1 percent to $44.61 billion, such that total two-way trade inched up by a mere 0.1 percent to $72.72 billion during the first five months.
Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said the lower growth targets were mainly on the back of slower global trade being impacted by the US-China war on import tariffs.
Moving forward, Edillon said the government was optimistic that the implementation of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022, which President Duterte just recently approved, would aid Filipino exporters as the roadmap identified strategies to address logistics bottlenecks hampering their operations.
The Philippines is also looking to seal additional free-trade agreements (FTAs) with its trading partners to tap more markets overseas, she added.
The recent signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) also augured well for the country’s agriculture and halal exports, Edillon said.
She noted that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) already identified the production of halal products as a priority sector. —BEN O. DE VERA
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