Government Likely to Downgrade Export Target

Article excerpt

Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

The Department of Trade and Industry is reviewing the country's exports targets in light of the softening of the global demand for electronics sector, the country's biggest export, with the possibility of downscaling the 8-10 percent exports target this year and 15 percent next year.

"The DTI is reviewing targets based on pronouncement by the private sector. So we are undertaking validation on all projections," Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila said.

"If exporters said they cannot do it then we have to face reality," Favila added.

According to Favila, the revalidation of targets may be completed next week.

Favila noted that global demand for electronics is slowing down and this only clearly shows that the country's export basket must diversify.

The Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) already indicated of difficulty in meeting the exports growth target under the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan as growth has been sluggish in the past eight months of the year.

Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said that if the last quarter export performance cannot make up for the past three quarters lackluster performances then there could be a downscaling of exports growth targets.

Exports figure for the January-August this year are less than encouraging.

For the first eight months this year, the country's exports posted only a 4.09 percent increase to $26.359 billion from $25.322 billion posted in the same period last year.

Of this figure, the electronics sector posted a measly 2.21 percent of $17.248 billion from $16.876 billion but the semiconductor sector posted a better performance of 9.82 percent to $12.603 billion from $11.476 billion in the same period last year.

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Government likely to downgrade export target

The government is targeting a 10 percent exports growth this year and 15 percent next year.

"If we cannot meet the 10 percent exports growth this year then it would be difficult to reach a 15 percent growth in 2006 or $50 billion," Ortiz-Luis said.

Given the actual performance, Ortiz-Luis said it would be a difficult situation.

"It's hard because of the world market situation, we don't know the situation," he said.

He, however, expressed optimism that exports in the final quarter of this year may be able to pull up the first three quarters performance and hit an 8 to 10 percent growth. …