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PHL agriculture may see export recovery this year

AGRICULTURE exports may see a rebound this year. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE EXPORT INDUSTRY is expecting the agriculture sector to lead some export recovery this year, while manufacturing growth will remain slow.

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said that while he is hoping agriculture exports could grow, shipments of big-ticket items like electronics to other countries will continue to be strong.

“If regulations can be fixed, we hope mining ore exports could grow too,” he said in mixed English and Filipino in a phone interview on Feb. 4.

These mining exports could serve as substitutes, he said, while most other exports are down because of low demand in the global market.

“Requirements (for mining goods) don’t stop, especially from China.”

Agro-based exports in 2020 declined 11.5% to $4.57 billion as the country’s total goods exports dropped 10.1% to $63.77 billion, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. Mineral products exports were up 6.6% to $4.98 billion.

Manufactured goods exports fell 10.7% to $52.6 billion.

Mr. Ortiz-Luis said manufactured goods export growth, including automotive parts, will remain slow this year.

Prospects for cars, wiring harnesses, and other components like batteries are also dim, he said.

Export demand from China and other parts of Asia are growing, he added, but orders from other markets like the United States are down.

Government export targets for this year and 2022 were revised to reflect the extent of the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, aiming for $105 billion.

The initial Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 roadmap earlier projected $122 billion-$130.8 billion in goods and services exports by 2022 after a compound annual growth rate of 8.89-9.96%.

Philexport has said that exports would fall short of the initial government target, mostly due to the global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic and calamities that destroyed agri-based raw materials and equipment last year. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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