Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado announced that the country aims to increase export targets to a high of 9%. "Our exports performance takes into account the work that we have been doing in recent years to expand market access as well as the ground we have covered to prepare our industries to gain competitive and comparative advantage,” she said.

President Benigno Aquino III recently approved the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) for 2015-2017. The PEDP is a three-year plan to create a business environment supportive of trade, growth, and innovation.

The PEDP aims to enable domestic industries to establish their niches in regional and global market to boost the performance of the country’s exports in the next two years. The plan seeks to increase the competitiveness of Philippine export goods and services in the global arena, both in areas where local products are already strong and in emerging products and services with huge potentials for growth. The PEDP has also identified sustainable Philippine products with established markets, and sectors whose competitiveness in global trade have shown encouraging patterns.

“One of the strategies in the PEDP is to take advantage of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as well as the tariff free scheme for more than 6,000 products offered by the EU-GSP+,” said newly appointed Undersecretary for Industry Promotions Terrado.

The top five destinations of Philippine exports are Japan, US, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Nearly half of the export revenues in 2014 are from these countries.

AEC aims to establish a single market and production base and a competitive economic region. Terrado cited the benefits of free trade agreements such as the establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2010. She cited companies such as Vitarich, Mama Sita, and Universal Robina Corporation who havemanaged to innovate and enjoy zero duties when exporting their products to partner countries.

Terrado explained that the ongoing Industry Roadmap Program of the DTI and the Board of Investments has identified cross cutting issues and action plans to address impediments to growth. She said that these same issues are articulated in the PEDP. These are: strengthened monitoring and evaluation; streamlined domestic regulations that unnecessarily raise the costs of production and cause delay in market delivery; regulatory reforms and promotion of market competition; upgrade of the quality of export goods and services; increased access to finance for market prospection, product development, and market diversification; collaboration of government agencies and the private sector to exploit the opportunities offered by the ASEAN economic integration and other preferential trading arrangements; a well-coordinated and sufficiently funded export and investment promotion campaign to exploit the nexus of foreign direct investment (FDI) and export activity; and, a national innovation system to enhance the innovative capacity of domestic producers.

“Central to the success of the PEDP is the successful implementation of these measures in partnership with other government agencies, academe and the private sector. Our collaboration aims to establish the country as a reliable player in the global trading network,” Terrado said. (END)