Trade is finally picking up speed. Can we count on the manufacturing and production sectors to speed up our economy’s recovery?

The country’s total merchandise registered a slower decline of 38.7 percent in May 2020 after April’s 59.5 percent drop, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s recent report. There were notable improvements on agro-based, forest and manufactured export products despite a decline by 35.6 percent in merchandise exports. On the other hand, imports fell by 40.6 percent but showed slower contractions in major commodity groupings particularly for capital goods, raw materials and consumer goods.

“The slower decline in trade performance is a welcome indication that economic activity has started to pick up. This is due to the relaxation of quarantine measures in certain areas, the gradual reopening of business, and the restarting of production within the country and its trading partners,” says Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.

Chua emphasizes that despite significant developments in the past decade, there remains a need to capitalize and improve on infrastructure, logistics, productivity and the whole manufacturing value chain. This is to continuously bring the costs down and be internationally competitive. 

“In addition, we can attract more new technology and innovation through the passage of the Public Service Act, and provide performance-based, time bound, and targeted incentives through the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill. These can all help improve the enabling environment for foreign investments and external demand,” says Chua.

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