October 10, 2017

MANILA – Productivity-enhancing reforms will help sustain the improving growth of Philippine trade recorded in August 2017, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country’s total trade grew by 10 percent in August 2017, a significant jump from June (1.5%) and July’s (2.5%) growth.

Exports recorded its ninth consecutive month of positive growth at 9.3 percent, and imports grew by 10.5 percent. This was mainly boosted by shipments to ASEAN member countries and the EU, growing 13.9 percent and 31.3 percent, respectively.

Growth in exports to Hong Kong (21.9%), Thailand (29.5%), Germany (10.5%), South Korea (33.7%), and the Netherlands (34.5%) were also recorded.

“To help enhance this trade productivity, it is important to follow through with reforms that will develop the country’s potential in digital trade and e-commerce,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said.

One such example is the Philippine Customs and Trade Facilitation Project, a USD200 million World Bank-financed modernization plan for the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs (BOC), he said.

This can boost BOC’s efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and revenue collection through an updating of systems, procedures, and operational activities related to processing and clearance of imported and exported goods.

Tungpalan also noted another trade-enhancing project, TradeNet, an online trading platform targeted to be operational by December that will enable faster electronic cross-border exchange of documents among ASEAN member states.

He added that the passage of the Ease of Doing Business Act, or the Fast Business Permit Act, will further streamline processes and reduce transaction costs in starting and operating a business in the country.

Tungpalan is the OIC of NEDA while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel abroad.

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