The Philippines is among the top countries in the world where information and communication technology (ICT) goods and services account for a huge chunk of its trade.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its first-ever Digital Economy Report 2019 released last week cited the Philippines as among the countries which have been successful at exporting both ICT goods and services.
The share of ICT goods to total merchandise trade in the Philippines in 2017 was over 35 percent, placing the country third in the world.
The share of ICT services to total services meanwhile stood at about 15 percent, placing the Philippines at seventh.
“Some economies have been successful at leveraging trade in ICT goods and services for value creation. This may lead to significant employment opportunities, add value to GDP and generate earnings in foreign exchange,” the report said.
It added: “However, apart from the Philippines, few countries have been successful at exporting both ICT goods and services, and some countries like Costa Rica and Finland have offset significant declines in goods exports by increasing services exports. Other countries have seized opportunities for trade in so- called ICT-enabled (or digitally delivered) services.”
The findings are telling since trade in ICT goods amounts to a substantially higher global value ($1.9 trillion in exports in 2017) than trade in ICT services ($568 billion in exports in 2018).
The report, however, noted trade in ICT services have proved more resilient in the past decade.
The report also made an assessment of value emerging from e-commerce which showed travel accounts for the bulk of B2C e-commerce in many developing countries.
The report cited data from the Philippines suggest that transportation and storage accounted for 71 percent of turnover from e-commerce in 2015 likely from online purchases of travel services.
UNCTAD said accommodation and food services, which were the second largest source of e-commerce revenue, were also connected to travel-related activities and food ordering.
Meanwhile, wholesale and retail trade represented 6 per cent of e-commerce sales in 2015.