Increased trade with China and Russia are bound to improve the Philippines’ trade performance in 2017, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda Director General Ernesto M. Pernia said agriculture exports to the two countries will be a major factor in improving the country’s trade growth.
On Friday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said total merchandise trade grew 5 percent in October 2016.
“The country’s improving relationship with Russia will also spur growth in the exports sector, as Russia committed to import around $2.5 billion worth of Philippine fruits, grains, and vegetables in the next twelve months,” Pernia said.
The Neda Chief said apart from lifting the ban on Philippine bananas and mangoes, China signed a $100 million-worth contract for fruit exports to China.
The potential is also huge for China-bound exports of high value crops such as mango, coconut, and dragon fruit, as well as that of fishery products, including lapu-lapu, crabs, shrimps, prawns and tuna.
Pernia also said the improvement in the United States jobs data bodes well for the Philippines and the global economy in terms of increasing demand for various food and non-food commodities and services.
Nonetheless, Pernia said it is important for the Philippines to harness opportunities offered by the ASEAN bloc’s ties with China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
“We must also maximize our bilateral ties with Japan and the European Free Trade Association, including Europe’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences. And aside from taking advantage of existing foreign trade agreements, Filipino exporters should also remain proactive in driving up product differentiation, innovation, and diversification especially that there will be stronger integration in the ASEAN region soon,” he added.
Based on a report by PSA, total trade grew to $11.7 billion in October 2016, with imports growing by 5.9 percent and exports, 3.7 percent.
For October 2016, import payments grew to $6.9 billion following increases in demand for capital goods (13.1 percent), consumer goods (16.6 percent), and mineral fuels and lubricants (22.3 percent).
Likewise, export earnings increased to US$4.8 billion on account of the strong performance of mineral products (15.1 percent) such as copper concentrates and chromium ore, and agro-based products (30.6 percent) like coconut oil, bananas, rubber and fish.
Increased receipts recorded were from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States, the Netherlands, Mexico and France.