An official of the Department of Finance raised the need for further enhancement of the Philippines’ export sector in line with the Duterte administration’s bid to further open the domestic economy to foreign investors.
According to the Economic Bulletin submitted by DoF Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, infrastructure development, free trade and bilateral agreements, as well as empowerment of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be strengthened.
This, especially since the country’s exports declined by 7.5 percent to USD4.73 billion last November against year-ago’s USD5.1 billion.
As of end-November last year, exports fell 5.2 percent to USD51.36 billion compared to the USD54.2 billion same period in 2015, due in part to lower demand from the country’s trading partners as a result of weak global growth.
”We should continue infrastructure development especially in port areas to enhance cross border trading; pursuit of free trade and bilateral trade agreements with other economies and regions; and capacitating MSMEs to tap export markets,” Beltran said.
DoF data show that about 60 percent of the country’s exporters are MSMEs so there is a need to ensure access to credit for the sector.
Dominguez have said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants to further open up the domestic economy to foreign investors, citing in particular those from Russia and China.
Last November alone, China was the fourth largest destination of Philippines exports, at about 11.7 percent of the total, amounting to $555.04 million.
Russia, on the other hand, receives about USD46 million worth of Philippine exports in an annual basis.