DTI sees PHL exports growing despite ECQ


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is upbeat on the country’s export performance moving forward despite the latest imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR).

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Philippine export industry is ready to participate in the anticipated economic growth in Asia amid the reopening of the global markets.

“We are positive that we will continue to see an upward movement in our export performance, as we allow 100 percent operating capacity of our exports sector even during the [ECQ],” Lopez said. “In our efforts not to disrupt export activities, we expect to maintain the acceleration of our growth rate and continue to provide jobs for our people.”

Based on the latest quarantine guidelines, manufacturers of medicines and vitamins, medical supplies, devices and equipment, including suppliers of input, packaging and distribution, are allowed 100-percent capacity during ECQ. Manufacturing related to food, beverage and other essential goods; and products for construction and maintenance works are also allowed to fully operate during ECQ.

However, the government banned other manufacturing activities during ECQ. These include electrical machinery, wood products and furniture, non-metallic products, textiles and wearing apparels, paper and paper products, rubber and plastic products, coke and refined petroleum products, other non-metallic mineral products, computer, electronic and optical products, electrical equipment, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers and other transport equipment.

Philexport’s worry

In a previous interview with the BusinessMirror, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Chairman George T. Barcelon expressed his concern over the impact of ECQ on the supply chain of the export-oriented manufacturers.

He said that exporters may encounter challenges when it comes to transporting supplies coming outside Metro Manila given the anticipated restrictions. The companies will also need to work around with new schedule of production, considering the ECQ and its impact on mobility of the employees as well, the Philexport official explained.

In June, the DTI noted that Philippine exports nearly grew by 10 percent to $563.9 million, thanks to the reopening of major economies such as the United States, China and European Union.

“The US market’s impressive performance towards the middle of the year has resulted in an expected change in the PH’s major markets profile, wrestling the top spot away from China for the first time in over a year,” the DTI reported.

The Trade department noted that exports to US improved by 23.8 percent year-on-year, while shipments to China jumped by 14.8 percent in June.

“Consumer spending is also on the rise, gaining confidence brought about by the increase in mobility and a gradual return to an almost back to pre-pandemic level of economic activity. China’s early recovery though seems to have tapered, and the country is on the same race as most of the rest of the world to stabilize gains,” the DTI added.

Electronics still comprise the bulk of the Philippine exports with over 60-percent share of the total.

Industry input exports, including machinery and equipment, cathodes of refined copper, metal components and copper concentrates, were also increasing, the DTI noted. The Trade department said this signifies the “general uptick in global industrial activity.”

Exports of activated carbon, abaca fibers, other processed tropical fruits and vegetables showed improvement during the period. However, some agricultural products were on a downward trend, including tuna, bananas, pineapples, fresh shrimps and prawns.

This is the reason, Lopez explained, behind focusing on new products with promising export potential as a strategy that is being explored in crafting the new Philippine Export Development Plan for 2022-2027.

“There is really a need to diversify our exports away from our traditional products, and the right time to do it is now,” Lopez said.

“The government is committed to develop more viable programs for MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises] so that they can be more competitive and better able to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by increasing global demand for both products and services, particularly from South East Asia,” he added.

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