THE Philippines was among the top economies for merchandise trade growth in the 2009-2019 period, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said.

In a report released Friday, WTO said the Philippines was second only to Vietnam in merchandise trade growth among the world’s top 50 traders from 2009 to 2019, having risen 13 places to 39th.

“Their active participation in global value chains, particularly in manufactured goods, was the main driving force for this improvement,” the report said.

Merchandise trade is measured by the average of exports and imports.

The Philippines’ commercial services trade ranking also rose to 36th in 2019 from 47th in 2009.

The report noted that with an average annual trade growth of 9% from 2010 to 2019, the Philippines demonstrated strength in exports of business services.

Globally, merchandise trade by volume fell 0.1% year on year in 2019, after rising 2.9% in 2018. By value, trade declined by 3% in 2019, compared with a 10.2% increase in 2018.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has since disrupted trade, with WTO economists in April estimating a 13% to 32% decline in world trade in 2020.

“Subsequent tracking of trade developments suggests that the decline may be closer to the optimistic scenario but worse outcomes are still possible if there is a resurgence of the virus,” the report said.

Philippine merchandise exports declined 35.6% year on year to $3.99 billion in May. Year-to-date exports in May were a fifth lower at $22.56 billion. — Jenina P. Ibañez