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Services seen leading 2023 exports growth

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Export Management Bureau (EMB) said it is more optimistic to see overall services exports growth in 2023 as it reported higher sales for the first three quarters of 2023 compared to exports of goods.

DTI-EMB Director Bianca Sykimte told reporters in a press briefing on Jan. 5 that they recorded a 28.4 increase in total service exports to $13.52 billion in January to September 2023 from $10.53 billion in the same period in 2022.

This is mainly due to a surge in travel service exports by 217.9 percent to $6.55 billion in the aforementioned period in 2023 from $2.06 billion in 2022.

She added that the sustained growth seen in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector also led to higher service exports. Even during the pandemic, the IPBM did not decline, she added.

Sykimte shared that they project a decline of around four percent in exports of goods for the end of 2023 due to the 8.4 percent (or $6 billion) decrease in merchandise exports to $67.03 billion from January to November last year from $73.18 billion in 2022, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

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She said this can be attributed to two products namely semiconductors, which was $3 billion less in 2023 than 2022, and coconut oil, which saw sales decrease by $1 billion.

Overall, electronics exports dropped by 9.1 percent to $41.45 billion in the first 11 months of 2023 from $45.58 billion in the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, non-electronics was down by 7.3 percent to $25.58 billion in 2023 from 27.60 billion.

In comparison to select Asian economies, the Philippines’ growth rate in terms of November 2023 year-to-date merchandise export performance dropped by 8.4 percent. Thailand recorded a 2.6 percent decline in export growth rate, followed by China with 5.2 percent, Vietnam with 5.7 percent, and Malaysia with 7.9 percent.

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Exports with foreign territories is also down by 7.4 percent for the first 10 months of 2023, noted Sykimte.

“For semiconductor exports, down by about five percent total, [but] better than global sales of semiconductors based on Semiconductors Business Association where global sales of semiconductors are down by nine percent,” she explained.

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Despite merchandise goods underperforming, Sykimte said that, “when we estimate the last three months or the last quarter of the year, we’re still looking at five percent growth for total exports for both goods and services.”

“In terms of catchup plans, our priority is to really build a foundation for us to attain more than double our exports by 2028. So it’s really a priority to address concerns on ease of doing business, regulatory issues that make it more expensive for manufactures to produce here in the Philippines,” she emphasized.

In terms of outcomes of DTI on trade promotion, she added that they have reached about $2 billion in sales generated for all DTI-led trade promotion initiatives, compared to only $1 billion In 2022.

“Part of our strategy of increasing exports, it’s really to bring foreign export-oriented manufacturers to the Philippines and for them to bring their suppliers as well,” remarked DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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