The National Economic and Development Authority urges tapping of new markets for Philippine trade to bounce back from its slight decline in June 2017.

NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority reported that total trade contracted by 1.2 percent in June 2017, after posting ten months of positive growth since August last year.

Despite the contraction, total merchandise trade grew by 11.2 percent for the first half of 2017 from the previous year, with exports (13.6%) and imports (9.6%) supporting the growth.

“We expect Philippine trade to recover, as the global economic recovery is seen to be on firmer footing in the second half of the year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

He noted that, to help in tapping new trade markets, the country can take advantage of its EU-Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) preferential status.

The NEDA chief also recommended that the Department of Trade and Industry continue its information sessions on “Doing Business with the EU using the GSP+” in key cities and towns in the country.

“This will help businesses to comply with the requirements, such as rules of origin, and hurdle trade barriers, such as product standards,” Pernia said.

Meanwhile, modest growth in Philippine exports with ASEAN (4.8%) and EU (3.9%) helped cushion the decline in traditional markets such as US (-8.7%), Japan (-9%), and China (-2.4%).

For Philippine imports, growth in ASEAN (4.5%) and EU (0.5%) helped offset decline from the US (-8.2%), China (-3.7%), and Taiwan (-33.1%).

“In light of our hosting of the ASEAN Summit this year, our country is also in a better position to push for a reduction in non-tariff barriers within the region,” Pernia said, noting that non-tariff measures had increased from 1,634 to 5,975 between 2000 and 2015.

Pernia also noted ongoing regulatory reforms identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, including delisting, abolishing, and consolidating or easing existing rules and regulations that affect doing business in the country.