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DTI slashes goal as coronavirus pummels exports

The Philippines cut its 2022 export projection by about a fifth, taking into account the impact of the pandemic. File photo taken in a shipping yard in Cavite, July 23, 2015. — REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

THE Trade department slashed its export projection by around a fifth to $103.9 billion by 2022, taking into account the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 roadmap, goods and services export revenues were earlier projected to reach $122 billion-$130.8 billion by 2022 after a compound annual growth rate of 8.89-9.96%.

“Given that the COVID-19 disrupted several business models, it will be difficult to go achieve our pre-pandemic targets. Hence, we had to adjust our projections based also on the various inputs from industry stakeholders,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement on Sunday.

Mr. Lopez said that travel goods, garments, and wood-based export industries were hardest hit by the pandemic because of weaker global demand and slower production during the lockdown.

Mr. Lopez called the new export goal a “fighting target” for the department, which he said is higher than the $86 billion set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

DBCC projects 5% goods exports growth in both 2021 and 2022, after an estimated 16% decline in 2020.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) projects goods and services exports to have fallen by 14.7% to $80.5 billion in 2020, before growing by 12.4% to $90.5 billion this year and by 14.8% to $103.9 billion next year.

The DTI said that it expects four industries to have registered growth in 2020, including minerals like copper and nickel ore by 29.9%. It said that basketwork exports would have risen by 28.3%, vehicle auto parts by 15.4%, and fruits and vegetables by 8.6%.

Next year, DTI is planning to focus on high-value electronics, automotive and e-vehicle parts, processed food, minerals, other minerals, IT-BPM, and creatives.

Service exports, DTI said, will grow based on health information management, content development, and creatives outsourcing industries, along with potential tourism recovery after the COVID-19 vaccine is made widely available.

The electronics exports industry group, which accounts for a bulk of Philippine goods exports, expects a 2020 decline of 5%, and a 2021 recovery of 7%.

Goods exports in the 10 months to October fell by 12.5% to $52.113 billion, lower than the decline projected by the DBCC for the whole year. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that China was the third-largest market for Philippine exports in October, increasing by 12.7% to $944.78 million year on year.

Industry group Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) last year said that it expected exports to fall short of the government target, reaching only at least $100 billion in 2022, mostly because of the global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic and natural calamities last year. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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