July trade up as exports grow 10.4% » Manila Bulletin Business

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By Chino S. Leyco

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expects that ASEAN agreements and the Philippines’ integration to the larger Asia-Pacific region will further boost the country’s trade performance.

In the report of NEDA-attached agency Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), total trade recorded a 2.3 percent growth in July this year, higher than the previous month’s 1.5 percent growth.

Ernesto M. Pernia

Merchandise trade grew to $12.2 billion, with a 10.4-percent exports growth offsetting the 3.2 percent decline in imports. Total trade from January to July 2017 grew to $87.8 billion or 10.3 percent, compared with the same period last year.

“Our country’s trade performance is consistent with the Asian trade growth. We are optimistic that higher growth will be achieved for the remaining months of the year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

For July, remarkable growth rates in exports were observed in Hong Kong (26.2 percent), Thailand (24.2 percent), South Korea (31.8 percent), Malaysia (31.6 percent), and Vietnam (16.4 percent).

For the same period, imports coming from the ASEAN region grew 8.5 percent, led by Indonesia (44.3 percent) and Vietnam (50.8 percent).

NEDA notes that ASEAN member states agreed during the recent ASEAN Economic Community meetings to prioritize trade in goods and trade facilitation, among others.

“For the region, this means a chance to double intra-ASEAN trade by 2025. For the Philippines, this means strengthened economic ties with our neighbors and a chance to deepen our partnerships,” Pernia said.

He also noted that the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will provide opportunities for all economies involved.

RCEP includes the ten ASEAN member states and six free trade agreement partners that include China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

“This partnership may facilitate more exchange of goods and services, attract investments, create more jobs, and improve the standard of living,” said Pernia.

The ASEAN accounts for 21.7 percent of the Philippines’ total trade, while the share of RCEP economies to Philippine trade is 60.5 percent.

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