June 11, 2019

The National Economic and Development Authority continues to push for critical legislative agenda to make the Philippine export industry more attractive and competitive.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s total merchandise trade declined by 1.0 percent to USD14.5 billion in April 2019 from USD14.7 billion in April 2018, as imports contracted (-1.9%) and offset a slight increase in exports (0.4%).

The decline in the value of imports was due to reduced payments for raw materials and intermediate goods (-16.3%), zero growth in capital goods imports, and the slowdown in purchases of consumer goods (7.6% in April from 20.6% in March).

The positive growth in exports in April can be attributed to the continued recovery of agro-based products (31.1% in April from 11.9% in March) and the uptick in the sales of manufactured goods (2.0% in April from -3.1% in March).

Exports to the United States, China, and South Korea grew by 10.6 percent, 20.4 percent, and 46.5 percent, respectively.

“To further drive exports up, we are looking at continuously increasing market access for Philippine products and reforms to improve productivity and lower production costs,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

To support the export industry in the country, the NEDA chief said that it is crucial to pass the amendments to the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investment Act, and Retail Trade Act.

The successful passage of the TRABAHO Bill will also modernize the country’s tax regime while streamlining the grant of fiscal incentives.

“With the passage of these reforms, we can leverage the Philippines’ attractiveness to both foreign and local investors. These investments can help our industry to improve production efficiency and product diversification,” Pernia added.

He said that there is also a need for game-changing actions in selected domestic regulations, such as streamlining the issuance of the Food and Drug Administration’s License to Operate and Certificate of Product Registration.

Other focus areas include the full implementation of the long-overdue National Single Window/TradeNet System, as well as the issuance of the long-awaited Joint Administrative Order to improve the efficiency in the movement of cargoes and to regulate international shipping costs.