Declining exports call for government intervention
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The government is called anew to rescue the alarming decline of export performance.


“The Philippine government needs to support our exporters by trade fair subsidies, promoting trade to free trade areas, market diversification, innovation and be competitive.” appealed Philexport-Cebu managing director Fred Escalona.

The economist had been warning the Philippine government of the red-flag re export performance, which was evident in the latest figures.

In fact, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recently forewarned exporters to brace for a difficult 2019 as the lackluster performance of global trade is expected to continue this year.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia acknowledged the need to improve the country’s mid-term export strategies and sustain merchandise trade growth this year.

However, export players are asking for “a little” support, as simple as marketing promotions, international fair subsidies, in order to “breath” while the weakening market situation is beyond the government or players’ control.

“The problem is mainly external. Low demand from outside. This is due to global tensions and is cyclical,” added Escalona.

What worsens the already depressing export state, is that the players are left on their own to survive in an environment that does not promote competitiveness.

According to Escalona, the Philippines is no longer competitive for exporters.

“We are not competitive at all as cost of doing business is too high. National and local governments need to focus on how they can help the export industry. Full attention is required. It does not seem to exporters that it is the priority area of government (right now),” Escalona stressed.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the country’s total merchandise trade grew by 4.1 percent, reaching $15 billion in November 2018. This is the slowest pace since the 2.7 percent recorded in March 2018.

Moderation in global growth appears inevitable in 2019. Given a less encouraging global economic outlook, the country needs to ramp up the implementation of strategies outlined in the Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022, assured Pernia.

Meanwhile, before the full implementation of the ambitious PEDP 2018-2022, Escalona said exporters need urgent band-aid solution.

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