Exporters expect 6% growth this year

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The umbrella group of Philippine exporters sees outbound shipments of goods to rise at a faster rate of six percent this year, from a flat growth last year, due to a lower base and expectations trade tensions between the US and China would ease.

“Merchandise exports, we’re expecting to end flat but the 2020 outlook is better. We are sticking with six percent growth (this year), considering the base is lower,” Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said in a telephone interview. 

He said the outlook is also based on expectations of an improvement in the ongoing trade war between the US and China, which involve imposing tariffs on each other’s goods.

“Hopefully, the trade war situation improves,” he said. 

He said the trade war could have an effect on some of the country’s exports such as electronics products. 

Earlier, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. president Dan Lachica said an escalated trade war between the US and China could affect electronic exports, particularly semiconductors which go to different products including consumer goods.

Ortiz-Luis said he is hopeful electronic products, which account for bulk of the country’s merchandise exports, would post a much faster growth this year. 

He said mining, as well as greater supply of agricultural products, would also help push higher exports this year. 

Garments could likewise contribute to increasing the country’s merchandise exports. 

“There has been a resurgence in orders of garments. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of companies to rely on. We hope we can encourage more manufacturing companies in the country,” Ortiz-Luis said. 

The country’s merchandise exports reached $69.31 billion in 2018, slightly higher than the $68.71 billion in 2017.

As of end-October, exports were valued at $58.96 billion, up slightly from $58.94 billion in the same period last year. 

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