By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Department of Trade and Industry has called for ₱25-billion to ₱30-billion budget for the export sector over a three-year period as government moves to provide all-out support to ensure that small, medium, and large companies gain competitiveness amid global trade uncertainty.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez revealed this at the National Exports Congress 2019 on Friday as the government moves to provide all-out support for the export sector in terms of incentives under the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan (SIPP), implementation of standards and safeguard measures to strengthen domestic manufacturing, reduced trade barriers, and fund mobilization, including soft loans.
“I want to reiterate the government’s support for our exporters, especially in these times of global trade uncertainty. By doing so, we will not only bolster our economic growth and address our trade deficit, we will generate more jobs and employment and income opportunities for our people even as we attract more investments,” Lopez said at the annual gathering among exporters at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Through effective collaborations among the government, academe, and industry, Lopez was confident of the continued gains of the export sector even as the DTI prepares it for Industry 4.0.
Lopez said that the country’s exports this year is expected to grow single digit on projected flat growth in merchandize export and moderate increase in services exports. The Export Development Council (EDC) is maintaining a target of $122 billion-$130 billion for total exports to be achieved by the end of 2022.
“While our imports are currently helping to bolster our country’s growth, we need to strengthen our exports and address the obstacles in the way,” he said.
For manufacturing, Lopez stressed that DTI intends to correct trade and manufacturing constraints not just by putting industrial plans and strategies but also the issue of limited fund support.
To reap the maximum benefits from this strategy, the Philippines must ensure deep industrial capability in basic industries and have the widest network of supplying industries.
As such, the DTI is implementing the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (iзS) to grow innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services while strengthening their linkages into domestic and global value chains.
Under iзS, the DTI has chosen 15 priority industries for domestic and export markets. These industries were selected for their comparative advantage and strong potential that are necessary for business support and industry development. They also have a high multiplier effect for being high-technology and labor intensive, and they act as links to disconnected supply chains.
To support these industries, Lopez said they have included priority activities focusing on electronics and electrical; automotive; metal products, machinery, and equipment; and aerospace parts and MRO in the SIPP.
Government support is targeted on four industrial projects: Eco-PUV Program; EV Incentive Scheme (EVIS); National Development Corp.-Investment Program funding assistance for new products and capabilities; and, Industrial Transformation Program for companies that are shifting to Industry 4.0 technologies.
To ensure that the country is ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the DTI will support funding for Industry 4.0 Roadmaps to help firms transform with new technologies; SME Academy to establish training facilities for SMEs; Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory to serve as demonstration facilities; Philippines as AI Center of Excellence to build a pool of data scientists; and upskilling and reskilling of workforce.
On the services exports, the Philippines aims to be the top Creative Economy in ASEAN in terms of size and value by 2030.
The priority initiatives in the Creative Economy Roadmap are shaping and identifying creative policies, industries, clusters, cities, tourism, and education. Meanwhile, the priority sectors are: Advertising, film, animation, game development, and graphic arts and design.
DTI is also funding and supporting the digital transformation of MSMEs to be ready for Industry 4.0.
“We need to prepare for the wide range implementation of the digital transformation by focusing on innovation and embracing the rigors of the digital era,” said Lopez.
With these plans and programs in place, Lopez said the e-commerce is expected to account for 40-50 percent of gross domestic product by 2022.