Local exporters urge focus on innovation, tech development
(The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Local exporters want the Philippines to get out of its third world country status by focusing more on innovation and technology development.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), the largest group of exporters in the country, said the Philippines should follow the examples of Japan, Korea and Singapore which utilized innovation and technology to emerge as Asian leaders and become first world countries.

For the Philippines, Philexport said banking on innovation and technology is one key strategy to improve its ranking in the league of countries contributing substantially to Asia’s economic growth.

“Interestingly, the strategic framework to make this Asian vision possible includes that of innovation and technology,” Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said.

“Current reports are now pointing to modest but sustained Philippine growth amidst the global economic gloom including those in our major markets. We therefore hope to see an improvement in our ranking and categorization in the next report,” he added.

Citing the Asia 2050 report of the Asian Development Bank, Ortiz-Luis said the Philippines remains in the league of third world countries.

The report, based on 2010 data, did not include the country among the Asian leaders projected to account for 91 percent of the region’s growth between that year until 2050.

Ortiz-Luis, however, said the role of innovation and technology in boosting economic growth has already been recognized by the government as President Aquino recently included innovation in the strategies of the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015 to 2017.

With the continued sluggish global growth, Ortiz-Luis said intensifying the role and importance of innovation on the competitiveness of the industry becomes even more important.

“Note that the export growths are registered from sectors with high innovation components.  For this reason, the country’s innovation system needs to be further strengthened as it remains weak and fragmented,” he said.

To further support development of innovation and technology in the country, Philexport is urging the government to increase budget allocated for programs that encourage innovation.

World Bank Group senior economist Marcin Piatkowski said other countries that have sizes of gross domestic product similar to the Philippines often spend 10 or even 100 times more on research and development or innovation.

Piatkowski supports Philexport’s call as he likewise encourages both the public and private sectors in the country to spend more on innovation if it hopes to become an economic powerhouse over the next few years.

 

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