MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority said Tuesday that in order for the Philippines to face “global challenges,” it must prioritize manufacturing and agriculture sectors of the country.
According to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority, imports and exports declined by 1.3 percent in the month of July compared to the same month last year. However, this is still considered an improvement from the 5.8-percent drop in June 2019 with exports leading the trade.
Merchandise exports grew by 3.5 percent backed by high gains from agro-based products, forest products and electronic products.
“Philippine exports remained resilient during the second quarter of 2019 despite the continuing external challenges such trade tensions between the United States and China, the bleak outlook in Europe, and the uncertainty of the future of Brexit,” said Socioeconomic Planning secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.
Meanwhile, merchandise imports decline by 4.2 percent in July 2019 due to cheaper payments for raw materials and intermediate goods as well as mineral fuels, lubricant and related materials.
Pernia said the effects caused by the long-standing trade tensions between the United States and China are beginning to show as global manufacturing sentiment continued to falter.
“The country’s manufacturing sector is expected to sustain its growth despite the overall decline in global manufacturing. We are optimistic as we see a reduction of global oil prices, the recent cuts in electricity rates, and the lower import costs due to the appreciation of the peso,” said Pernia.
Moreover, Pernia also underscored the importance of addressing issues in the Philippine agriculture sector.
“As the country continues to pursue programs that will pave the way for the resurgence of the manufacturing sector, increasing the competitiveness of agricultural producers, particularly rice farmers, should continue to be prioritized,” said Pernia.
He added that long-term measures, especially the proper implementation and distribution of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, would have a huge impact on sustaining and expanding the rice sector. (PNA)