DTI-EMB lauds 2017 export figures, consistent electronics-industry efforts

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed the significant development in the country’s export sector for 2017, as electronics cornered 52.02 percent of the total share of merchandise exports, while nonelectronics, 47.98 percent. Share of electronics used to be over 60 percent of the total exports 10 years ago.

“Significant growth posted by nonelectronic goods for full year 2017 suggests the diversification and expansion of the country’s export products over the years,” DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said.

Combined with the 13.14-percent projected annual growth in services exports in 2017, the annualized total exports for goods and services for full year 2017 are expected to chalk up a double-digit growth of around 10.8 percent.

Total exports of Philippine electronic products in 2017 increased remarkably by 11.17 percent backed by strong performance of 6 out of 9 subsector of the said industry. Meanwhile, nonelectronic goods marked an increase of 7.79 percent primarily led by an increase in a wide range of products.

Forest products posted a triple-digit increase of 492.68 percent, which contributed to the significant rise of nonelectronic goods for this year.

For full year 2017, the annual value of export shipments to the top market destinations of the Philippines registered substantive growths. Combined markets of PROC (China) and HK SAR (Hong Kong) remained the top exports destination with a share of 24.73 percent to total exported goods, followed by Japan with a 16.2-percent share.

Total exported goods to PROC and HK SAR amounted to $15.549 billion. Exported goods to Japan totaled $10.187 billion, down by 12.71 percent.

The United States landed as the third top market destination with a 14.56-percent total share, growing by 3.45 percent. Total exported goods for full year 2017 to the US reached $9.157 billion.

“We aim to pursue intensified promotion efforts to potential markets where we see a significant increase of our exports, while we continue to diversify and strategize to new markets,” Terrado said.

Meanwhile, as electronics continues to top the country’s merchandise exports year after year, the industry is gearing to roll with its momentum by launching a road map that intends to identify the country’s future electronic products aimed to take advantage of the world’s technological demand.

The Semiconductors and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Foundation Inc. (Seipi) on Tuesday announced it will be launching soon the industry’s Product and Technology Holistics Strategy (Paths) road map.

Seipi President Danilo C. Lachica broke the news after the government reported commodity exports last year was at $62.87 billion, of which 52 percent was contributed by the electronics industry.

Lachica said the road map was crafted to further develop the sector and ensure its place as the top goods export of the country in the years to come.

“We have been kind of steady between $20 billion and $30 billion for about a decade, and what we would like to do with the electronics industry is to explore how we can further improve that and, perhaps, even get a hockey-stick effect to take off from the $30-billion level much, much more than that,” he said.

The road map was bankrolled by the DTI and was administered by the Department of Science and Technology.  The main study was conducted by economists, academics and scientists from the private sector.

Lachica added the Paths is a strategic plan for the electronics industry that will identify “what products and technology are we going to focus on.” This is to ensure the country will not be left behind by the growing demand for parts and machines needed to operate various technologies worldwide.

“What this study proposes is to look at things that we should be producing and services that we should be providing in the Philippines,” Lachica said. He added he expects this road map to further boost the already excellent performance of the electronics sector.

With the emergence of newfound technologies—“the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, self-driving cars and big data”—the Seipi chief said there will be a demand for electronics that the country can provide to innovators.

“These are the kinds of technologies that we looked at and the study basically evaluated the Philippine situation, competitive edges and comparison with different countries in Asia, as well as in North America and Europe, to come up with a suggested niches where we can play in,” he said.

“For instance, in semiconductors, there was a proposal to look at sensors because when you do self-driving cars, there are going to be a lot of sensors involved. When you try to do disaster prediction and prevention, sensors will be involved. Even in memory chips because big data storage and artificial intelligence [need sensors]. Those are the kinds of things that will be proposed to semiconductor companies in the Philippines,” Lachica added.

With Paths, Lachica believes the country will continue to perform excellently in terms of exporting electronic products. He added this will be crucial in broadening the electronics industry, which has to date, according to Seipi, employed about 3.2 million direct and indirect workers and is projected to employ a total of 5.5 million workers by 2020.

It is also expected the soon-to-be launched road map will rake in an additional $1.5 billion worth of investments in 2020, $3 billion in 2025 and $5 billion in 2030. Seipi is targeting to breach $40 billion in export values in 2025 and $50 billion in 2030.


Turning Points 2018
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