MANILA - The Philippines will aim to export higher value products apart from commodities and intermediate goods as it attempts to narrow its trade deficit, the Department of Trade and Industry said on Wednesday.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028 will look at reducing the gap between exports and imports.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said the country’s trade deficit further widened to a three-year high in 2021 as imports outpaced exports.
Exports hit $74.65 billion last year while imports hit $117.88 billion.
"We have become complacent about closing this gap because we have favored the remittances of our overseas Filipino workers and the dollar income in the BPO industry," Pascual said.
The DTI said it will support industry development through value-addition in previously identified priority clusters: the industrial, manufacturing, and transportation (IMT) cluster; the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) cluster; and the health and life science (HLF) cluster.
"DTI will promote resource-based industries, particularly ore processing," Pascual said, echoing the Marcos administration's plans to add value to the country's mineral industry.
The DTI said the country has 2 billion metric tonnes of nickel, 1.1 billion metric tonnes of copper, and 260,000 metric tonnes of cobalt reserves.
"Exporters can be partners as the country pursues to be a producer of semi-finished and finished products [from these minerals]," Pascual said.
DTI will also collaborate with the Department of Agriculture to improve value chains through upgraded transport and logistics facilities including cold storage and cold chain facilities, Pascual said.
Local government unit-enabled market matching mechanisms and will increase community-level value-adding for food waste reduction.