Gradual reopening, strict health protocols, structural reforms, key to reviving PH trade

The significant improvement in the country’s trade performance in September suggested that the country’s approach to gradually reopen the economy, along with the strict observance of health protocols, puts us on the right track towards economic recovery, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported yesterday, November 5, that the country’s merchandise trade performance registered a slower decline of 9.2 percent in September from the previous month’s 17.9 percent contraction, as relaxation of quarantine measures led to an expansion in trade activities.

In particular, merchandise exports reversed its six-month long decline to post a 2.2 percent growth as outward shipments continue to improve.

Meanwhile, imports fell by 16.5 percent but showed slower contractions in major commodities, such as capital goods, raw materials and intermediate goods, mineral fuels, and consumer goods, compared to the previous month.

“As we continue our efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, measures to support businesses and consumers in Bayanihan 2 will help the economy recover faster. The government needs to pass the remaining recovery programs – the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill, the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiative to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill, and the Financial Institutions Strategy Transfer (FIST) bill – which will further support COVID-affected sectors recover faster, while promoting the resurgence of trade,” said NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.

Other reforms that NEDA is pushing include legislative measures that seek to amend the Public Service Act (PSA), the Foreign Investment Act (FIA), and the Retail Trade Liberalization (RTL) Act. These are expected to spur investments in logistics and critical infrastructure that will help exporters increase productivity and competitiveness.*

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