Trade up, Philip­pines

Sun.Star Pampanga - - STORY! -

TRADE re­ceipts shot up by 10 per­cent last Au­gust, a much faster in­crease than what was seen in July (2.5 per­cent) and June (1.5 per­cent).

The Na­tional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (NEDA), which shared the good news re­ported by the Philip­pine Statis­tics Au­thor­ity, said this also em­pha­sizes the need to pro­ceed with re­forms that will al­low more Filipinos to com­pete in dig­i­tal trade and e-com­merce.

These pos­i­tive num­bers couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time for NEDA, which Sen. Franklin Drilon asked last week to ac­count for the slow­down in the en­try of new in­vest­ments. At US$3.6 bil­lion for Jan­uary to June 2017, for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments (FDI) were 14 per­cent less than what the coun­try re­ceived in the first half of 2016, the cen­tral bank’s data show ed.

But busi­ness ex­pec­ta­tions for these last three months of 2017 are up­beat, NEDA pointed out, in part be­cause of ex­pec­ta­tions sur­round­ing the pub­lic in­fras­truc­ture spend­ing pro­gram and the ex­pected rise in con­sumer de­mand this Christ­mas. It also ex­plained that Sen­a­tor Drilon had fo­cused on for­eign eq­uity place­ments. While these are im­por­tant fig­ures, these are only a part of the to­tal FDI and a par­tial view of in­vestor con­fi­dence.

When po­lit­i­cal wran­gling and show biz dis­trac­tions com­pete for much of our at­ten­tion, it is easy to for­get other as­pects of our na­tional life that also need our eye­balls and, more im­por­tantly, our con­certed ef­forts.

That in­cludes a clear-eyed look at what Filipinos can make that the world mar­ket will em­brace. Ex­ports grew for a ninth straight month, for in­stance, be­cause our hard-work­ing small and medium en­trepreneurs found ways to sell more goods to the rest of South­east Asia (13.9 per­cent more ex­ports in Au­gust) and the Euro­pean Union (31.3 per­cent growth). Also crit­i­cal is our lead­ers’ abil­ity to fight for longneeded re­forms, like those that will make it eas­ier for all en­ter­prises, whether startup or es­tab­lished, to get gov­ern­ment clear­ances and to do busi­ness. A cru­cial re­form area is the Bu­reau of Cus­toms, which needs to over­come not only re­cur­ring al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, but also to do its job with more trans­parency.

As ea­ger as we Filipinos have al­ways been to ar­gue, whether about pol­i­tics or per­sonal choices, we need to re­mem­ber to work to­gether de­spite our dif­fer­ences. We need to stop beat­ing our­selves up, from time to time, be­fore all our ex­pec­ta­tions of doom be­come self-ful­fill­ing pr opheci es.

— Sun­nex

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