Imports grew faster in 2017 than exports

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Merchandize imports grew faster at 18.5 percent in November 2017 as against exports which grew by 1.6 percent—the lowest since November 2016—with agri-based products and manufactures posting declines, offsetting the gains in mineral, forest and petroleum products.

 

But the Philippine Statistics Authority under the National Economic and Development Authority, sees continues improvement in the export competitiveness and identification of emerging markets for exports that would sustain merchandize trade growth.

 

The PSA said the country’s total trade grew by 11.8 percent in November 2017, pushing year-to-date growth to 9.9 percent.

 

Trade performance showed faster expansion compared to the 9.4 percent year-on-year growth in November 2016.

 

 “Exports to ASEAN and EU look promising. Gathering of market intelligence, such as market profiles and emerging in-demand exports, as well as information dissemination to exporters should be further strengthened to boost trade, especially exports to East Asia,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

 

In this regard, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Export Assistance Network, which provides exporters access to relevant information, and Tradeline Philippines, an online database service that contains product and market profiles, are seen to play important roles.

 

Pernia adds the country’s economy is seen to continue its upward trajectory in 2018, especially with the “Build, Build, Build” program providing additional impetus to positive growth prospects.

 

“The timely implementation of the government’s infrastructure program will be critical in bringing down the cost of doing business and, thus, should make our exporters more competitive,” Pernia said.

 

Pernia noted that, while the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, or TRAIN, is expected to finance the government’s infrastructure program, inflationary pressures and the possible rise of domestic interest rates, should be closely watched as this could dampen business and consumer sentiment.

 

 

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