MANILA—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Tuesday that strengthening trade ties with Asian neighbors will back the recovery of the country’s exports performance in the coming months.
DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada said the Philippine government’s effort to boost trade relations with ASEAN and China contributed to the growth of exports revenue in the first two months of 2017.
Exports of goods in January to February 2017 increased by 11 percent to USD4.78 billion from the same period in 2016.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that shipments to China in January to February period improved by 24 percent to USD799 million.
Exports to ASEAN countries likewise made increments in the same period – Singapore, up by 8.0 percent to USD568 million; Thailand, up by 37 percent to USD332 million; Malaysia, up by 46 percent to USD163 million; and Vietnam, up by 16 percent to USD106 million.
“Enhancing trade promotion effort to huge consumer markets is seen as a viable strategy in sustaining the performance of Philippine exports in the coming months,” Perlada noted.
In the past months, the Duterte administration has been visiting ASEAN member states and China to ensure strong economic relations with these nations.
He added that the conclusion of the ASEAN-led free trade agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is also expected to further strengthen trade in the region.
RCEP is a trade agreement among ASEAN member states and its six dialogue partners including China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.
“RCEP is the chance to balance the country’s trade deficit, especially with China,” Perlada mentioned.
Among selected trade-oriented economies in Asia, the country placed ninth in terms of exports growth in February. Vietnam had the fastest exports growth in the said period, which rose 30 percent.
“We see a trend of recovery among economies in the first two months of 2017. For us in the Philippines, the numbers are healthy. While we ranked ninth for this month, on a year-to-date analysis among selected trade-oriented economies, we placed third in terms of export growth. This is a signal of a robust export sector,” Perlada said.