Export growth seen to reduce poverty and create more jobs

By Anna Valmero

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—The Philippines aims to double its total export revenues to $120 billion by 2016 in its goal to achieve “inclusive growth” under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.

Achieving this target will result to increased local employment, and consequently, a better quality of life for more Filipinos, according to Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) director Senen Perlada.

“In sustaining the country’s growth, our export growth rate should be at least at par with our ASEAN neighbors. Philippine exports have been growing at a slower rate because of weak demand especially in large consumer market such as the United States and Europe,” Perlada explained.

The country’s exports accounted for 34.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2010 alone. “For the Philippines to attain inclusive growth through trade, we have to sustain growth, create jobs, and reduce poverty,” Perlada added.

“For trade to help curb poverty, we gave importance on sectors that through production and service activities directly in poor areas. There are a lot of opportunities in agriculture, resource-based value-adding activities, eco-tourism and community-based tourism.”

At present, the export industry is still dominated by merchandise trade that is highly focused on electronics, computer parts and auto parts.

In the services sector, there is relative success in the business process outsourcing (BPO), which currently employs 650,000 agents.

Under the development plan, the country aims to increase its annual tourist arrivals to ten million by 2016, more than triple from the current three million tourists this year.

For this year, the country’s exports target is $80.2 billion for 2012 and $89.2 billion for 2013.

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