IT-BPM, tourism boost PH exports to $104 B in 2023

The total exports recorded by the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) have reached nearly $103.6 billion, with the information technology business process management (IT-BPM) and tourism sectors driving growth.

This was a 4.8 percent increase in goods and services exports from 2022, according to EMB Director Bianca Sykimte citing the data of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In a statement on April 1, DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the growth of the IT-BPM sector can be attributed to the agency’s continued partnerships with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI), the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), and the Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP).

He also shared that, for the first time in 15 years, the country had a surplus in tourism revenues, with travel services reaching $9.1 billion in 2023.

The country was able to garner over five million foreign visitors, noting the efforts of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in implementing the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023 to 2028.

Overall, services exports grew by 17.4 percent to $48.3 million last year from $41.1 million in 2022, increasing its share of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 13 percent in 2023 from 12 percent in 2022.

In services exports, travel services contributed around 70 percent of incremental services exports last year with $9.12 million from $4.17 million in 2022, followed by business services, telecommunications, computer and information services, and transport services.

Meanwhile, goods exports came up short as electronics exports declined by 3.4 percent last year ($955 million) as per the BSP due to decrease in exports of coconut products, agro-based products, and minerals and petroleum. Notably, fruits and vegetable exports saw an uptick in demand.

Exports accounted for 27 percent of the GDP in 2023, which was “dampened by weak external demand in the goods sector.”

Nearly 16 percent or $11.5 billion of the country’s merchandise exports were to the United States (US), followed by Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Meanwhile, exports to India surged by 53 percent last year. 

“The path to global excellence and export growth requires shared ambition, where the government and the private sector must intensify and sustain collaborations. Our guideline is the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028, which aims to address constraints to production, diversify and improve access to markets, and develop a strong and innovative export ecosystem," said Pascual.

“We recognize the ongoing challenges in both the domestic and global trading environments and hope to address the binding constraints to Philippine export competitiveness as we continue to implement the PEDP for 2023 to 2028. Each exporter counts, and with cooperation, we can open the door to a future in which Philippine exports have increased their mindshare in the global market, underpinned by global competitiveness and innovation,” he added.