Philippine exports reach over 70 bln U.S. dollars in 2019
Philippine exports reached 70.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 from 69.3 billion U.S. dollars last year despite external headwinds from the global trade policy uncertainties, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Tuesday. “The relatively strong export performance of the Philippines transpired amid the Department of Trade and Industry’s strong efforts in attracting investments, spurring micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) development, and promoting the ease of doing business,” Lopez said.
Growing at 1.5 percent year-to-date, Lopez said the country’s export growth is also the second-best performer among East Asian economies, next to Vietnam. “Our goal was to expand the productive capacity and export base as well as in actively enhancing trade relations with existing partner economies, by marketing products abroad and exploring new export markets,” Lopez added. For the first time, he said electronics exports hit 40 billion U.S. dollars with a 4.4 percent growth year to date.
The sector comprised of 56.9 percent of total exports, with non-electronic products making up the remaining 43.1 percent at 30.3 billion U.S. dollars, he added. The United States, Japan, the Chinese mainland, and China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region were the top four destinations for Philippine merchandise items last year, he said. “Curbing inflation via aggressive price monitoring activities has also contributed in making locally-made products attractive internationally,” Lopez said. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ merchandise imports decreased by 4.8 percent to 107.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
As the full-year’s export growth was positive and import growth negative, Lopez said the Philippines’ merchandise trade deficit narrowed 14.9 percent to 37.0 billion U.S. dollars. “This bodes well for the country’s external position since a smaller trade deficit would lead also to a narrowing of the Philippines’ current account deficit,” Lopez said.