March 2, 2024

Exporters are pushing Congress to pass pending critical economic and trade-related bills needed to promote growth and support the country’s continued recovery from the pandemic as they institute reforms to achieve export goals set in the new export development plan.

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. identified some of these measures as the Magna Carta for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, Philippine Ports Authority Charter or the PhilPorts Act, the International Maritime Competitiveness Act, Open Access in Data Transmission Act, Customs Amnesty Act, and reforms in the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN) law.

The Magna Carta for MSMEs is a landmark legislation mandating development and nurture of the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit, while the amendments to the ASIN law aim to rationalize the policy, facilitate the revival of the local industry and expand food exports.

“We could not emphasize more the importance of getting these reforms passed as part of the conditions within which export growth and targets under the Philippine Export Development Plan or PEDP are connected,” Ortiz-Luis said during the group’s general membership meeting.

Ortiz-Luis said Philexport championed the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or the Create Act last year.

The Create Act introduces reforms to the corporate income tax and incentives systems.
“However, we are faced with hurdles and confusion in its implementation,” he said, without elaborating.

Apart from the passage of these pending economic and trade-related bills, Ortiz-Luis said industry players are taking a more aggressive stance inspired by the newly-launched PEDP and the recovery in the export performance.

“If all the reform elements in the PEDP are achieved, we are seeing export earnings of $240.5 billion for 2028, more than double this year’s target of $112 billion,” he said.

He added 88.5 percent of the export earnings are accounted for by prominent export sectors such as electronics; agriculture; transport; home furnishings; wearables, fashion accessories and travel goods; minerals; information technology-business process management; and chemicals.

Under the PEDP 2023-2028, one of the strategies to ease supply side constraints to export expansion is attracting and retaining domestic and foreign investments, especially in the export of high-value products and services.

The plan also underscored the need to provide adequate support to export firms’ requirements in power, water and irrigation, transport and logistics, and telecommunications connectivity.

Ortiz-Luis further said export performance so far suggests that Philippine export markets have become increasingly more diversified in recent years.

The number of economies to which the country exports has grown from 70 in 2000 to 200 now, he said.

“Still, it’s remarkable that the composition of our top 10 export markets has hardly changed in the last decade. The market and product diversification becomes ever more relevant as sectors like the furniture and wearables are experiencing declining orders due to the recession in traditional markets such as the United States and Europe,” he added.

To expand demand for Philippine exports, the PEDP outlined the importance of intensifying trade promotion, marketing, design innovation and branding initiatives; pursuing active membership in regional and bilateral preferential trade agreements; and pursuing export market diversification. – Press release