CREATIVE INDUSTRIES, which accounted for 4.8 million jobs before the pandemic, are expected to help drive the Philippines’ economic growth in the post-pandemic era, the Trade department said Monday.

“Overall, the country is in a strong position in terms of our creative industries as evidenced by our performance in the 2020 Global Innovation Index (or GII). The Philippines ranked 57th in creative outputs and we are at a competitive position in terms of our creative good exports at 10th place,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the Creative Futures 2021 online forum.

“That’s why we believe that our creative industries can help drive our country’s economic growth in the post-pandemic future,” he added.

He also noted that the creative sector can “very well be the next service industry-winner,” next to the business process outsourcing.

Before the pandemic hit in 2020, the creative industries provided 4.8 million jobs, equivalent to more than 11% of total employment as of 2019, Mr. Lopez said.

“In that same year, total creative exports amounted to $6.8 billion or 6% of total exports, while industry investments amounted to P281 million of total approved investment from investment promotions agencies,” he added.

“We’d like to point out that in 2018, we were ranked first in ASEAN for creative services exports and fifth in total creative exports. Within that same year, our total creative exports amounted to $4.1 billion in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Also Monday, Mr. Lopez said at the APEC Global MSME Forum 2021 that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should tap the potential in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which he said account for only 35% or less of the region’s direct exports.

“They contribute significantly to economic growth, with their share of GDP (gross domestic product) ranging from 40% to 60% in most APEC economies,” Mr. Lopez said at the forum.

He said APEC economies should “encourage” MSME development “to build their capacity to engage in international trade, whether as direct exporters or as part of regional and global value chains.”

“While MSMEs have been a core agenda (item) of APEC, the unparalleled effects on businesses of the COVID-19 crisis calls for stronger measures among APEC economies to support, strengthen and foster an enabling environment for MSMEs. Through the appropriate policies and measures, we need to assist them amidst the pandemic and beyond,” Mr. Lopez said. — Arjay L. Balinbin