The government-private sector Export Development Council (EDC) estimates exports to have declined 13.5 percent in 2020 due to the lockdowns for the most part of the year due to the new coronavirus disease 2019.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, EDC chair, said the Philippines “can write off the 2020 numbers” but a rebound is expected this year at a growth of 12.5 percent, a percentage point shy of full recovery from last year’s slump.
That would put exports back to about $91.7 billion.
Based on the approved targets under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), exports should have ended at $81.5 billion in 2020. Goods shall have ended the year 11 percent lower to $47.6 percent while services shall have plunged 17 percent to $34 billion.
Lopez told reporters in a text message exports will further pick up in 2022, at 14.8 percent to reach $105 billion, 19 percent lower than the original target of $130 billion by 2022 under the PEDP.
“We have adjusted the export targets, taking into consideration impact of pandemic and weaker global demand. Thus, the revised targets are lower than the original targets where export levels were originally projected to reach over $130 billion by 2022,” Lopez said..
Lopez said the positive growth of 2 percent in September and 3 percent in November last year were not enough to totally offset the decline in the first half of 2020 which was the height of the lockdown.
Lopez added export numbers continued to improve month-on-month reaching positive growth by September and November versus their same month previous year’s numbers.
“We can write off the 2020 numbers, so to speak, but the rebound is expected this year…
We can consider these targets as fighting targets, after intensive consultations with each export sector and stakeholder and global market prospects per sector,” Lopez said. Lopez vowed the government will exert all efforts in terms of policies and support programs to assist exporters and help them achieve these fighting targets.
Lopez also expressed optimism the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises bill and other economic reforms will be passed in Congress.
These, he said, alongwith the Build Build Build and other investment and export promotion including digitalization programs will drive up more investment inflows to increase the country’s export capacities, and unleash our potentials in higher value sectors.
He identified these winning sectors as the electronics, automotive, aerospace, information technology-business process management, copper, creative industries and halal.