MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority expressed support for regional cooperation initiatives that will reduce trade costs and further boost Philippine trade performance recorded in September 2017.

In the report of NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority, total merchandise trade grew by 2.8 percent year-on-year to USD13.1 billion in September 2017.

Exports recorded its tenth consecutive month of positive growth at 4.3 percent, while imports posted a modest growth of 1.7 percent.

“The third quarter growth performance of several major economies such as the Eurozone, US, and China, reflects an upbeat outlook for the global economy. Given this, we are optimistic that Philippine trade will pick up in the last quarter due to higher demand in the holiday season,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said.

For exports, the growth of the country’s shipments to EU (40%) and ASEAN (7.6%) boosted the total receipts for the period.

Also, higher sales for top export markets such as US (4.9%), Hong Kong (29%) Germany (4.6%), Netherlands (70.8%), and Thailand (7.1%) were recorded.

For imports, growth of shipments from South Korea (52.9), Indonesia (8.1%), Taiwan (6.5%), and Vietnam (40.0%) offset lower inward shipments from China (-7.3%), Japan (-8.1%), and US (-18.3%).

“We look forward to regional cooperation and integration being forwarded in APEC 2017 Vietnam and also in the upcoming 31st ASEAN meetings. We expect these initiatives to promote inter- and intra-regional trade and deepen engagement between regional blocs, as spelled out in the Philippine Development Plan ‎2017-2022,” the NEDA official said.

Edillon noted that the call being made in APEC to establish a free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific will enhance trade and investment flows in the region and deepen ties among APEC member economies.

In relation to ASEAN, she also said that the ASEAN Business Advisory Council has urged the fast tracking of non-tariff measures, non-tariff barriers, and the ASEAN Single Window initiative to further ease doing business in the region.

Edillon is NEDA OIC while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel abroad.

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