Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu still one of Philippines top exporting provinces

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu must look to further boost and diversify its export sector, as it continues to contribute significantly to the country’s export bill.


In an interview yesterday, Emmarita Mijares, deputy executive director of the Export Development Council, said Cebu remains one of the top exporting provinces in the country.

"Cebu's input is very significant," she told The FREEMAN at the sidelines on the 2018-2022 Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) stakeholders forum Thursday.

She said prospects for Cebu's export industry remain to be bullish with the presence of export economic zones on Mactan Island.

The Cebu Light Industrial Park, Mactan Economic Zones 1 and 2 are the three industrial economic zones currently operating on the island where most companies are exporting their products.

Cebu is also likewise a know exporter of processed foods like its dried mangoes, furniture and electronics.

Aside from products, the business process outsourcing (BPO) is also Cebu’s biggest contributor to its export services.

"We want Cebu to increase its exports and diversify," Mijares said.

In 2017, the country’s export revenue from merchandise and services hit $98.84 billion, against $92.15 billion targeted in the previous PEDP.

Of that, Cebu contributed about  $4.8 billion, the EDC official said.

She pointed out the ease of doing business and infrastructure remain the two crucial factors needed to be addressed to drive export growth.

She added exporters must likewise take advantage of free trade agreements with other nations.

The export industry in Central Visayas, where Cebu is a major player, consists of various sectors namely electronics, industrial goods, furniture, seaweed, food, fashion accessories, gifts, toys and housewares, shellcraft, garments and medical tourism.

The PEDP 2018-2022, recently approved by President Duterte, lays out the medium-term strategy for meeting export targets.

PEDP 2018-2022 is a five-year road map that will help the Philippines raise its level of exports to $122 billion by 2022.

The plan cites the removal of regulatory impediments, enhanced trade facilitation, improved access to trade finance and exports’ competitiveness as among the factors to drive export growth.

Exporters must also understand the country’s free trade arrangements to help them to take advantage of these deals, the plan said.

Aside from these key strategies, the plan also identified as urgent the passage of a National Quality Infrastructure Bill, to harmonize standards, testing, certification and quality accreditation, all of which are expected to improve consumer protection, free trade, and environmental protection.

The PEDP also calls for the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Law which Mr. Duterte signed on May 28.

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