HALF OF THE production of export-oriented economic zone manufacturing locators may be sold locally during the pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said.

Export locators with PEZA incentives must have an export threshold of at least 70% of their production. Under PEZA’s recommendation, the domestic sales allowance has increased to 50% from the previous 30% of the total sales of the locators.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said in a webinar on Friday this would put foreign owned businesses “on equal footing” with Filipino-owned locator companies.

“This will benefit not just the export producers with their expanding sales and increased access to the domestic market, but also the local economy through the ecozones’ enhanced forward and backward linkages,” she said.

She said this is a COVID-management measure to assist locators affected by the pandemic by allowing them to sell manufactured products locally while global export demand is down.

“In the process, PEZA is able to keep the locators afloat as well as the economy by ensuring the continuous operations of the makers and thereby sustaining the created jobs, livelihood, and other economic opportunities.”

This has been approved by the interagency task force on the coronavirus, Ms. Plaza said.

Merchandise exports in July declined by 9.6% to $5.654 billion compared with a revised 12.5% fall in June, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. This marked the fifth straight month of decline.

Meanwhile, imports fell for the 15th consecutive month in July by 24.4% to $7.481 billion. — J.P. Ibañez