MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority reiterates the need for the government to stay the course and be bolder in supporting the country’s key and emerging exports sectors to boost overall trade growth.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the country’s total trade in October 2018 grew by 14.0 percent, reaching USD17.2 billion.

Exports climbed for a fifth consecutive month in October 2018 amid positive performances of manufactures and forest products.

“With export growth unlikely to pick up pace in the near term and imports to continue to expand, stronger support must be given to key and emerging exports sectors in the country,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

He added that implementing strategies in the Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022 becomes imperative especially for the electronics, processed food and beverage, and vegetables sectors.

Strategies include simplifying regulation, promoting competitiveness of industries, upgrading export quality and standards, facilitating access to financing, and promoting innovation.

Meanwhile, imports kept its double-digit growth as purchases of all commodity groups, led by purchases of capital goods, intermediate products and raw materials, increased.

“Imports from our major trading partners continued to trace an upward trend while exports improved modestly,” Pernia said.

Moreover, Pernia emphasized the importance of reforming the Foreign Investment Act to allow foreign investments in domestic-market oriented firms besides export-oriented enterprises.

“This will allow foreign firms to transfer their manufacturing facilities to the Philippines to take advantage of the growing domestic market–including the rising middle class–as well as to serve the Asian regional markets. We expect this move to reduce our imports and current account deficit, ease inflation, and create more and better jobs,” he said.