The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will focus on investment promotion and strategic activities as part of the government's efforts to increase the country's exports. In a Viber message on Wednesday, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the country's export performance remains to be largely affected by the tapering demand for semiconductor, which account for almost 40 percent of total merchandise exports. "Industry players expect this to be temporary as global investments in semiconductor manufacturing have been increasing significantly. Thus, we need to position the Philippines to take a greater share of this increasingly important global value chain," he said. Data recently released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that exports which amounted to USD6.52 billion in March, declined by 9.1 percent from last year's USD7.1 billion. Citing a study conducted by the International Trade Center, Pascual said the country has the potential to increase exports by as much as USD49 billion based on the Philippines' supply capacity, the demand conditions in the target market, and bilateral linkages between the Philippines and the target market. To achieve this, Pascual cited the need to make products and services more visible in international markets through trade promotion, better understand clients, invest and expand production capabilities and utilize existing preferential trade agreements. "Evidently, we need to diversify our export basket, and investments play a key role in developing Philippine capabilities to produce and export more of higher value products," he said. "We will focus on investment attraction and export development in sectors where we have established capabilities that can serve as a solid foundation for export growth and are well-positioned to seize opportunities in emerging trends. These are: Industrial, Manufacturing, and Transport (IMT), Technology, Media, and Telecommunication (TMT), and Health and Life Science (HLS)," he added. At present, the Philippines has trading arrangements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade-in-Goods Agreement (ATIGA); Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA); Philippines-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (PH-EFTA FTA); ASEAN bilateral FTAs with China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR), India, Japan, South Korea (ROK), Australia and New Zealand; Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); and the PH-Korea FTA which has been agreed upon between the two countries and is set to be signed this year. The Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028, which will be launched in June, is also expected to help increase exports. Pascual said the PEDP will focus on addressing constraints to production, developing a robust and innovative export ecosystem, and expanding the Philippines' mindshare in the global market. "To be able to address our constraints to production, we need to attract investments to broaden and develop capabilities, facilitate technology and knowledge transfer, and create an ecosystem of suppliers in the country. Through the implementation of the PEDP, we aim to enable exporters to compete beyond pricing and amplify the quality, value-added, sustainability, and provide an enabling export environment that will allow businesses to thrive," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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