MANILA – Despite the Philippines’ recent decline in trade performance, imports and exports of goods are expected to be better in the second half of 2019 due to the country’s economic outlook remaining positive for the year, the National Economic and Development Authority said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the country’s merchandise trade contracted by 3.0 percent, reaching USD15.6 billion in May 2019. This was caused mainly by imports, which declined by 5.4 percent, even as exports managed to post a positive growth of 1.0 percent.
“Global economic outlook for 2019 remains subdued as policy uncertainties and some geopolitical tensions continue to pose risks to many economies. But amid these external developments, the country’s economic outlook remains upbeat,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.
Both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank estimate that the Philippine economy is poised to grow at 6.4 percent and 6.5 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively. This favorable view is also supported by the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts of 6.5 percent in 2019 and 6.6 percent in 2020.
Moreover, the approval of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 should further support external trade. The PEDP, which is anchored on the PDP 2017-2022, will provide a more focused approach in improving the country’s export position.
“Strategies under the PEDP must be implemented in harmony with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 to boost merchandise trade growth,” the Cabinet official said.
The PEDP lays down crucial broad-based reforms that will improve the overall climate for export development by removing regulatory impediments, enhancing trade facilitation, and fostering supply chain linkages, among others.
“The Philippines should likewise continue to aggressively pursue regional integration and cooperation to dampen the effects of increasing trade tensions,” said Pernia.
He also noted that efforts to promote a more accommodating business climate must be sustained to attract more investments in the country.
“Investment promotion should be intensified with special priority given to investors who not only provide employment, but also increase the value added of firms located in the country,” Pernia added.