Trade Chief sees growth in PH imports to boost local business activities

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

With the 8.2% month-on-month PH import growth recorded in September despite that PH imports have continued to decline for 17 consecutive months, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said this is an indication of the resumption of several business activities.

The majority of September imports recorded were inputs to manufacturing, mainly on capital goods (32.6%) and raw materials and intermediate goods (40.5%), pointing to the recovery of the manufacturing sector as the country gradually reopens the economy.

“Our continued efforts have shown that we have been able to gradually resume economic activity while observing the strict implementation of minimum health protocols. With more people able to return to work and earn income, we are optimistic that we will be able to revitalize consumption and enhance the production capacity,” said Secretary Lopez.

According to DTI, the contractions may have slowed down due to the increase in shipment of electronic products to the country by 2.4%, from USD2.37B to USD2.43B year-on-year (YOY)

In the past PH import performances, electronic products accounted for the majority of the total year-to-date (YTD) merchandise imports (30.1%), followed by mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials; transport equipment; industrial machinery and equipment; and iron and steel.

In terms of imports from the top trading partners, Brazil and India both posted positive growth at 28.2% and 2.6% respectively in September 2020. However, shipments from top import suppliers posted negative growth in the combined markets of China and Hong Kong (10.5%), Japan (20.9%), South Korea (1.7%), USA (10.1%), and Singapore (12.9%) in the same month.

Meanwhile, with the recorded 2.2% YOY increase in PH exports in September amounting to USD6.22B—coming from an 18.6% YOY decline in August—trade deficit continues to narrow at USD1.71B in September 2020.

“We are committed to continuing managing this trade deficit as best as we can to build back better towards a V-shaped recovery for the country,” the Trade Chief said.

DTI has been pushing the revival of the economy through the implementation of various programs supporting businesses, specifically for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The Philippines’ export performance also recently shared a positive turnaround to 2% growth, after months of decline due to the strict lockdowns implemented.