The Philippine Star

Export targets under review

- By LOUELLA DESIDERIO

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is reviewing the targets under the Philippine Export Developmen­t Plan (PEDP) to determine if these can still be achieved given the impact of the pandemic.

“Currently, we are reviewing and assessing the PEDP’s strategies indicators and export targets to see if such are still doable or not,” Trade Undersecre­tary Abdulgani Macatoman said during the National Export Congress yesterday.

Under the PEDP, the government targets total exports to reach $122 billion to $130 billion by 2022.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the PEDP targets are being reviewed periodical­ly and the current review is being done in light of the pandemic.

“We’ve proposed revisions aligned with the pandemic effects and impact to our economy,” he said.

Philippine Exporters Confederat­ion Inc. president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said various surveys show the export sector has been hit by the pandemic, particular­ly micro, small and medium enterprise­s.

De s p i t e the l o ckdowns imposed by the government to contain the spread of the virus, he said exporters continued to operate while imp l eme n t i n g health and safety protocols and flexible work arrangemen­ts.

While the export sector has been affected by the pandemic, Lopez said there are already signs of recovery as the government continues its push to reopen the economy.

Following the strong pickup in internatio­nal merchandis­e trade in June, he said merchandis­e exports rebounded strongly in September, registerin­g a 2.2 percent increase from the revised double- digit contractio­n of 12.8 percent in the previous month, the first time it crossed positive territory since the onset of the pandemic in March.

Moreover, he said there was positive year-on-year growth in exports to seven out of the top 10 major export destinatio­ns such as Thailand, combined China and Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, the Netherland­s and Japan, easing the year-to-date shrinkage to 13.8 percent from the 16.6 percent drop posted in the first eight months of the year.

“As the country continues to open the economy and ease restrictio­ns, along with health protocols of workers, our merchandis­e exports could possibly be in a sustained uptrend until the end of the year and nextyear,” Ortiz- Luis said.

While the review is being undertaken, Macatoman said the agency remains optimistic the low- end target of $ 122 billion could still be achieved.

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