Cebu exports plunge 24% in first 4 months
Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - May 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Reeling from a contraction last year, Cebu's export sector saw a negative growth in the first four months of 2019, as industry outlook remains dim.

For the month of April alone, Cebu exports went down 22.27% to US$16.16 million from US$20.79 million, data furnished by Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport)-Cebu executive director Fred Escalona showed yesterday.

From January to April, Cebu exports amounted to US$66.099 million, down 24% from US$86.74 million in the same period in 2018.

Last year, the export sector was also down by 13.81% to US$246.62 million from US$286.12 million in 2018.

"Unfortunately we registered a contraction in 2018 and this continued in the first four months of 2019," Escalona told The FREEMAN yesterday.

"The prospects are not good this year for Cebu exports either," the export official further pointed out.

According to Escalona, demand from Cebu's export markets has been slowing down.

"Our traditional markets and new emerging markets are both down in terms of demand," the Philexport official said.

He said the industry is on a "wait and see" mode as far as growth performance for the rest of year is concerned.

"We will just have to wait and see how things develop in the next few months," he said.

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority urged exporters to continue to diversify products and earnestly look for new markets to boost exports.

"To drive up exports, we are encouraging exporters to continue to diversify products to expand their markets. To match this effort, the government continues to explore non-traditional markets such as Eastern European countries and is seeking to strengthen ties with traditional trading partners,” Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had said.

The Export Marketing Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry is looking at non-electronic products such as cars, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, and footwear & wearables, among others, as new export growth drivers.

“Recently, the Philippines has also secured a commitment from the UK on continuing the same level of market access to UK post-Brexit, similar to the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences,” Pernia said.

In addition, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea arrived at a common understanding to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement and could possibly conclude the negotiations in time for the 2019 Republic of Korea-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in November 2019. (FREEMAN)

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