Makati City, Philippines — Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual is optimistic about the Philippines’ export performance following the expansion of the country’s merchandise exports by 26.4% in April 2024 to USD 6.2 billion from USD 4.9 billion in April 2023, according to preliminary data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Cumulative merchandise exports for the first four months of the year also increased by 9.6%, reaching USD 24.2 billion compared to USD 22.1 billion in the same period last year, highlighting the export industry’s resilience amidst global economic challenges.

“The latest data on merchandise exports reflect our commitment to develop a strong and innovative export ecosystem that increases export scale and scope by improving backward and forward linkages, boosting participation in preferential trade agreements, and providing institutional support,” said Secretary Pascual. He added, “Industry development is about developing and expanding our current export capabilities. These strategic actions define what we mean by an industry-development-centric approach to growing our export sector and guiding the programs we implement.”

Electronics exports, a key driver of this growth, saw an impressive 33.3% expansion, reaching the highest level in the past decade. Top-performing categories within this sector included semiconductors, electronic data processing, telecommunications, consumer electronics, and automotive electronics.

Meanwhile, DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Bianca Pearl Sykimte shared, “We have been intensifying our efforts to make exporter services more accessible by digitalizing our services and by conducting more engagements in the regions. Export matching and information services of the Department will soon be accessible through digital platforms.”

Oher commodity groups also recorded notable growth in April 2024, including other manufactured goods, other mineral products, coconut oil, ignition wiring sets and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircraft, and ships, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, gold, and fresh bananas.

In April 2024, the top 10 export markets accounted for 81.2% of the Philippines’ total exports. Exports to these markets increased by 25.7%, or approximately USD 1 billion, compared to April 2023.

In line with efforts to increase the Philippines’ mindshare in the global market, the DTI recently partnered with QSweep Tech Services Corporation to promote Philippine exporters in the digital space through “PHX Source,” an online platform designed to provide greater visibility and access to international markets for Philippine exporters. 

This platform will enable exporters to showcase their products and services, connect with potential buyers and partners, and gain valuable insights through real-time analytics. Onboarding exporters onto the platform will be led by the Department’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), in collaboration with other trade and investment promotion offices.

The DTI is also collaborating with key export enablers to provide comprehensive support services to exporters. This includes initiatives like the Usapang Exports sessions, designed to educate exporters on various export-related services and topics. Moreover, the program provides a trade concierge service through export counseling clinics.

In addition to enhancing forward linkages, there are ongoing initiatives to improve backward linkages by creating and linking supplier networks within the country. This strategy aims to reduce import dependence and facilitate greater participation in global value chains (GVCs), either as direct or indirect exporters.

Notably, the Philippines is actively engaged in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This agreement will operationalize the Philippines’ trade strategy to enter new markets as envisaged in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 and the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028.

The UAE is the Philippines’ 17th largest trading partner and the top export market among all Gulf Cooperation Council member states. It is also home to one of the largest populations of overseas Filipinos in the Middle East, as well as numerous well-known and home-grown Filipino brands and businesses.

In the area of services, the creative industry is projected to grow by 6-8% in 2024, with game development being a significant driver. The mobile gaming sector is leading this development with an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2027) of 7.57%, resulting in a projected market volume of USD 1.73 billion by 2027. Professional gaming, or eSports, is also expanding rapidly, positioning the Philippines as a potential regional hub for this sector.  

Furthermore, in September 2024, the Philippines will participate in the External Development Summit (XDS) in Canada, an international event focused on external development for art, animation, audio, software engineering, quality assurance, and localization. This participation will provide opportunities for the Philippine game development industry to expand its reach, forge new connections, and showcase its capabilities on a global stage.

Overall, the DTI’s strategic initiatives across multiple industries are supported by the Tatak Pinoy Program and the Malikhaing Pinoy Program.

For inquiries regarding exports, please send an email to DTI-EMB at exports@dti.wgslots.co or you may visit tradelinephilippines.dti.wgslots.co. ♦

Date of release: 24 June 2024