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Business

‘2024 export target impossible to meet’

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
�2024 export target impossible to meet�
This photo shows crates carried by a forklift in the port of Manila.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is likely to miss its $143.4-billion export goal this year, with the portfolio needing diversification and exporters’ competitiveness needing enhancement, according to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport).

The umbrella organization of the country’s exporters said it may take the country about two years to achieve the target.

“The $143.4 billion target set in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) from 2023 to 2028 is impossible to achieve this year,” Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said during the group’s general membership meeting early this week.

He said it may be possible to meet this year’s target for exports of goods and services in two years.

The country’s exports of goods and services breached the $100-billion mark for the first time, reaching $103.6 billion in 2023.

While last year’s total exports increased 4.8 percent from $98.8 billion in 2022, it fell short of the $126.8 billion goal for 2023 set under the PEDP.

Merchandise exports slipped by 4.1 percent to $55.32 billion in 2023 from $57.71 billion in 2022, while services exports grew by 17.4 percent to $48.29 billion from $41.12 billion.

According to Ortiz-Luis, the export performance shows the need to diversify export portfolios and improve competitiveness in key sectors.

“One specific push can come from the ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) that the Philippines and South Korea signed last September,” he said.

The FTA is expected to remove tariffs on most products from the two countries to promote growth in bilateral trade.

In particular, it will provide greater market access in South Korea for Philippine bananas and processed pineapples.

Ortiz-Luis said the Philippines and the European Union are also finalizing a comprehensive FTA that includes enhancing market access for goods, services and investments, the removal of obstacles to trade, and protection of intellectual property rights including geographical indications.

Once in place, the FTA will also help boost exports.

Ortiz-Luis said the group continues to push for exports as a main driver of the country’s economic growth.

The government has lowered its gross domestic product growth target to a range of six to seven percent from 6.5 to eight percent for this year after slumping to 5.5 percent in 2023 from 7.6 percent in 2022.

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