MANILA: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is optimistic on seeing a continued recovery of the country’s exports this year and expects a strong growth finish for 2017.
“We see a trend of recovery among economies in the first two months of 2017. For us in the Philippines, the numbers are healthy. This is a signal of a robust export sector,” DTI Export Marketing Bureau director Senen Perlada said.
Philippine exports posted an 11 percent increase to $4.782 billion in February, marking a third consecutive month of growth, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Among selected trade-oriented economies in Asia, the DTI said the Philippines placed 9th in terms of exports growth, a decline after it placed third the previous month.
“While we ranked 9th for this month (February), on a year-to-date analysis among selected trade-oriented economies, we placed third in terms of export growth,” Perlada said.
Perlada said the increasing efforts of the Philippines in strengthening ties with its ASEAN neighbors and also with China are expected to sustain the growth of the sector in the coming months.
As the Philippines serves host for this year’s ASEAN Summit, the country is also pushing for the conclusion of the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
RCEP is the free trade agreement being advocated by the ASEAN 10-member states with its six dialogue partners including China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.
Perlada last month said the government and the private sector would revisit the country’s export growth target following the strong outcome of merchandise exports in January.
He said the public-private Export Development Council is likely to elevate this year’s total export growth target to as high as seven percent from the original forecast for 2017 of just three to five percent.
The projections refer to the combined growth of both merchandise and services exports. Separately, outbound shipments of goods are originally targeted to grow three percent, while that of services are seen rising eight percent in 2017 under the present Philippine Export Development Plan.