Export development plan expected early next year

THE Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) is expected to be released by early next year following completion of a review by the government, the association of exporters said.

Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) president, told reporters on the sidelines of the National Export Congress 2022 in Pasay City on Wednesday that the PEDP 2023-2028 is still being reviewed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In November, Philexport said in a statement that the PEDP 2023-2028 was targeted to be launched by Dec. 7 at the National Export Congress 2022.

“There were changes, and there is a new (Trade) Secretary. Even the people reviewing the plan were changed,” Mr. Ortiz-Luis said.

“Once the DTI’s review is done, it will be approved by the Export Development Council (EDC) for release. We expect the release of the PEDP by early next year,” he added.

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual chairs the EDC.

The 2018-2022 PEDP set an export target of $122.3 billion-$130.8 billion by 2022.

According to Mr. Ortiz-Luis, the export industry is hoping to hit exports of $120 billion to $130 billion for both goods and services in the next two years.

“We are eyeing $120 to $130 billion. That was the original target from two years ago. It was not met. What we had was $87 billion (export level) last year. Hopefully, we can meet $100 billion this year. We faced delays due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in shipping and the supply chain,” Mr. Ortiz-Luis said.

Cielito F. Habito, Brain Trust, Inc. chair and PEDP planning facilitation team leader, said in his presentation that the industry can generate $240.5 billion worth of export earnings by 2028 if the PEDP 2023-2028 is implemented.

“We are seeing that it is possible, if we all do things together and do it right, to get $240.5 billion in export earnings by 2028. It is possible if we do things right,” Mr. Habito said.

Mr. Habito, a former socioeconomic planning secretary, said various steps must be undertaken to hit the target, like intensifying trade promotion, marketing, and design innovation; pursuing active membership in regional and bilateral preferential trade arrangements; pursuing export market diversification; attracting and retaining domestic and foreign investment; and supporting export infrastructure requirements in terms of power, water and irrigation, transport and logistics, and telecommunications.

Mr. Habito also recommended more export financing, the consolidation of small producers, and a skills-matching program for exporters’ human resource needs, among others.

“We need to attract those big-ticket, global firms. We need to ensure steady and reliable supply of these raw materials for manufacturing. We need to have clustering and cooperation. Responsible mining and processing of minerals to complete our value chains is also important,” Mr. Habito said.

“We’d like to think that PEDP will be aggressive, inclusive, innovative, integrative, and regenerative. With the whole nation rallying behind the PEDP, we can make it happen,” he added.

Mr. Pascual added: “Both public and private sectors are called on to work together to unlock the country’s unrealized export potential of $49 billion a year. We need to push this potential and achieve sustainable and inclusive industrialization.”

“In 2020 and 2021, over 3,000 exporters managed to grow despite the global trade slump. Of this number, 403 exporters in 2020 managed to increase their export sales by more than $1 million compared to their previous year; this number almost doubled to 742 in 2021,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave