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PH wants to export high-value goods and services.

While the government attempts to tap into its untapped export potential, key stakeholders will focus on high-value products and services in designing the new Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) for 2022-2027.

Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Ramon Lopez said the new PEDP is being drafted “with the ultimate goal of changing the Philippines from a commodity and intermediate goods exporter to a high-value product and service exporter.”

“The new PEDP will also spell out aggressive and disruptive strategy directions with targeted and concentrated priority products and services for promotion,” he stated at the recent virtual 2021 National Export Congress.

The strategy will be based on more thorough data analysis to guarantee that policy and strategic directions are evidence-based and take into consideration the impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic of 2019 (Covid-19) as well as new trends as a result of global value chain reconfiguration.

“Taking into account global changes and the necessity to speed recovery,” Lopez said, “more than 3,700 Philippine exporters have access (to) new markets in 2021, demonstrating the strong commitment to recovering from the impact of Covid-19.”

The future of Philippine exports, according to Lopez, has “a lot of potentials,” but problems remain.

According to the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) export potential assessment, the Philippines has an unrealized export potential of USD49 billion, with USD20 billion due to product market-specific frictions that can be unlocked and realized through reforms in areas such as trade facilitation, among other things.

According to Lopez, the DTI and the Export Development Council have been working on a joint memorandum circular with the help of several government departments to help the export sector recover faster.

“(This is) accomplished by addressing some of the fundamental binding restrictions to export development and competitiveness in the area of trade facilitation, as well as by expanding our collaborations with private sector partners,” he explained.

Lopez said DTI will make strategic shifts in export development and promotion, including redefining the measures of export success from aggregate values and growth figures to targeted metrics, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve service delivery to exporters and in line with a “more ambitious and bolder” PEDP.

“Reframing mindsets from export promotion to export development, with an inclusive innovation industrial strategy at its core, stratifying interventions and leveraging partnerships, and identifying the right interventions for each export sub-sector based on their readiness and growth constraints,” he continued.

According to the ITC SME (small and medium-sized companies) competitive survey done in 2020, more creative firms were less affected by Covid-19 and are more resilient, according to Sylvie Bétemps Cochin, senior trade promotion officer, and project manager at ITC.

“In the current context, access to information and market intelligence has also proven to be a key element of competitiveness, as has the support of business organizations,” she said at the same event, adding that these enable exporters to identify markets or maintain market share during the pandemic.

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