Marcos approves Philippine Export Development Plan for 2023-2028

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has approved the proposed plan aimed at making the Philippines a major player in the global export market, according to Trade Chief Alfredo Pascual.

During a Palace briefing on Tuesday, Pascual said the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028 secured Marcos’ greenlight. Under the plan, the government would implement industry-level interventions to keep up with neighboring nations.

“The Philippines is lagging behind its neighbors when it comes to exports. We can consider ourselves as laggards so this plan will help us uplift the Philippines’ performance in exports,” he said.

The Philippines continued to record a widening trade deficit, which happens when a country has more imports than exports. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the deficit in March stood at $4.927 billion following a 9% drop in exports.

Some of the major commodity groups that the country exports include electronic products, wiring sets used in vehicles, machinery, chemicals, and coconut oil, among others.

However, the Philippines, despite being a known agricultural country, has also been dependent on food imports. For the third quarter of 2022 alone, agricultural imports reached $5.17 billion versus exports totaling $1.86 billion.

But Pascual kept his bullishness that the plan can make local enterprises competitive in the global market.

Under the PEDP, the official said the government would closely work with firms which show export potential, in identifying challenges.

Those that are “cresting” and still at the “ripple stage” would secure a “significant amount of support” from the government, he noted.

Pascual said the government would help the firms boost their production and quality, as well as increase their skilled manpower.

“The competitiveness of the Philippines lies in the competitiveness of the firms themselves,” he said.

“We are laggards because we have firms that are not able to come up with the quantity and quality of exportable products,” Pascual added.

Pascual said the PEDP identified priority industry clusters—industrial machinery and transport; technology, media, and telecommunications; and health and life sciences.

Aside from beefing up local firms, Pascual said the government would also increase its promotional efforts.

“It’s raising awareness about the Philippine investment climates, the potential businesses that can be pursued in our country by foreign investors. Expos, participation in expos for example is one way to promote our exports or holding trade fairs,” he said.