By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
The Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028 will enable the Philippines to compete globally on an “even basis,”
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Made this statement in his speech Thursday, at the International Trade Forum at the Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City. which bannered the theme “Empowering Philippine Export Industries,”
Marcos said the PEDP 2023-2028 contains strategies aimed at transforming the local exports industry into a “strong and a highly-competitive pillar of the Philippine economy” in the next five years.
Stressing his administration’s bid for trade expansion, he said “the growth of our very own exports industry holds the key to our attainment of our national development targets. So cognizant of our pivotal role, we have to make sure this economic linchpin that we are counting on for so much will be properly and firmly in place.”
“Borne by the collaborative efforts of our exports community, the PEDP embodies a comprehensive, multifaceted and pragmatic plan that fleshes out the specific strategies to achieve the broad target of this administration’s agenda,” he added.
Marcos said the PEDP 2023-2028 export plan would help the industry work in “well-coordinated and efficient” manner to achieve a “higher and practical” objective of improving its global competitiveness, and at the same time allow the exports sector to become “not only suppliers but also industrial consumers of the products.”
“We are doing this because we want to open markets that the Philippines will be able to export to and import from. So it is not one way. It’s trade. That is the most important thing. What we have to do is to allow ourselves (to do) the restructuring of some of the elements that are within the law, that are within the rules so that we can compete on even basis,” he explained.
During the event, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, serving as chair of the Export Development Council (EDC), handed over to Marcos the council’s statement of commitment to implement PEDP 2023-2028.
In a sectoral meeting held at Malacañan Palace in Manila on June 6, Marcos approved the PEDP 2023-2028. The plan aims to transform the Philippines into a major exporter of high-value products and services by 2028 by laying the groundwork for the country to become a dynamic exporting nation, leveraging on the country’s superior knowledge and talent to provide a wide variety of high-value products and services that cater to the needs of consumers and producers worldwide by 2040.
In his speech at the event, Marcos acknowledged that while the total exports are growing, the Philippines still lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors when it comes to international trade.
“We still have to grapple with critical issues such as comparatively less diversified export portfolio and trade barriers and frictions. We have had several good export plans over the many decades. Nonetheless, we are still playing catch up in the global scene. It is high time we address and confront these issues head on,” he emphasized.
The Chief Executive stressed the importance of leveling up the country’s “export game” by taking a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to it, and take advantage of its existing free trade pacts, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
He added that the government will shortly sign a free trade agreement with South Korea and continue negotiating with the European Union and the United States for free trade deals.
“We have to bring up our game, our export game a little bit and support our exporters so they can compete in foreign markets and are able to be not only suppliers but also as industrial consumers of the products that are around the world. In other words, to strengthen trade,” he said.
A “transformative” strategy, he said, would be pursued to make sure the exports industry will be able to generate “high, quality and stable employment opportunities, highly-competitive products and services, and of course, higher revenues.”
He assured that the government would strengthen its partnership with the private sector and the international community, to pursue and realize its goal of transforming the Philippines into a “prosperous, inclusive and resilient” nation by 2040.
“Dynamic innovation within the sectors will be at the heart of this transformation. The exports industry is crucial and indispensable to this development strategy,” he stressed.