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Philexport seeks larger budget for R&D

MANILA, Philippines - A larger budget allocated for research and development (R&D) should soften any future blow that sluggish global demand would bring to the country’s exports, the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) said.

Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. has reiterated the group’s call for the government to hike its budget for R&D given the ongoing downtrend in merchandise exports.

“Even as we are working to improve our competitiveness, our export is taking a beating from sluggish global demand in the last 15 months,” he said.

“More research and development and innovation budget is needed so that we can come out ahead of ASEAN counterparts which also offer similar products that we produce,” Ortiz-Luis added.

Philexport has earlier suggested for the government to raise the country’s R&D budget from 2015’s P11.7 billion to at least five percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“Our advocacy for game changers and out of the box solutions continues, particularly in financing the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). This should help link the MSME to the ASEAN Economic Community and other global value chains,” Ortiz-Luis said.

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The multi-sectoral Export Development Council (EDC) last month decided to cut this year’s exports growth target to three percent from its original forecast of 6.6 to 8.8 percent.

For next year, the EDC has likewise decided to revise its 7.7 to 10.6 percent growth target to three percent, which is similar to this year’s growth expectations.

Ortiz-Luis said the country’s exports if not for its strong services sector may even end up in the negative for the year.

“We can use this time to work on implementing the eight strategies defined in the Philippine Export Development Plan such as the ease of doing business, product development, upgrading quality standards, innovation and capacity building,” he said.

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