Christmas to boost 2H exports

The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) is optimistic on the recovery of the export sector in the second half of the year due to stronger demand for local products for the Christmas season.

“Well, it (second semester) will be better than the first half because we are approaching the Christmas season so we expect it will be good,” PHILEXPORT president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said.

Ortiz-Luis Jr. hopes to post a positive growth to enable the sector achieve its target of 5-percent export growth for the year.

He, however, acknowledged the target was a “tall order,” as the sector needed to generate 7.5 percent growth during the remaining months of the year to hit its target.

The country’s total export sales posted a minimal decrease of 0.1 percent from $5.704 billion in June 2017 to $5.700 billion in June 2018. This was due to decreases posted by other mineral products; chemicals; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircraft and ships and fresh bananas.

“There are some improvements in our markets. Electronics seems to be doing well. In agriculture, it’s coconut (that is growing), the rest are going down. We hope that mineral products should contribute also,” he noted.

Ortiz-Luis Jr. also pointed out that services sector is also growing better than manufactured exports.

He identified the country’s traditional markets as Japan, United States and China.

The PHILEXPORT chief said industry players are looking to penetrate new markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

“(In ASEAN) we have arrangements of tariffs so we would like to maximize our relations with them considering we have bilateral (ties) with ASEAN,” he added.

Ortiz-Luis Jr. said they are also implementing strategies identified under the Philippine Export Development Plan.

“We are requesting budget support. Financing of exporters themselves should be improved, especially for the SME (small and medium enterprises) exporters. And we have high hopes that Ease of Doing Business (law) would cut down red tapes and bring down the costs,” he added.

He also underscored the need to bring down transport, shipping and power costs in the country.

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