THE TRADE department revised its export targets for this year and 2022 to reflect the extent of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and sluggish global demand.

“In this revised set of targets, we will reach $105 billion by 2022, but still growing from $91.7 billion in 2021,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement.

The $105-billion target by 2022 is slightly higher than the $103.9-billion target the Trade department announced on Jan. 3.

Asked why the department revised its targets anew, Mr. Lopez told reporters via Viber: “Lumabas na kasi ’yung January to November. That pushed up the 2020 base year (The January to November data pushed up the 2020 base year).”

He noted the exports decline for 2020 is estimated at 13.5%, as economic activities were halted during the strict lockdown from mid-March to end-May.

“The positive growth of 2% in September and 3% in November last year was not enough to totally offset the decline in the first half of 2020 which was the height of the lockdown. But export numbers continued to improve month on month reaching positive growth by September and November versus their same month previous year numbers,” Mr. Lopez explained.

“We can write off the 2020 numbers, so to speak, but the rebound is expected this year 2021, where we expect to bounce back to a +12.5% in 2021 and +14.8% in 2022,” he added.

The Trade department considers the targets as “fighting targets,” Mr. Lopez said, noting it had “intensive consultations” with each export sector and stakeholder.

“This also means that we shall exert all efforts in terms of policies and support programs to assist the export sector and help them achieve these fighting targets,” he added.

Under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 roadmap, goods and services export revenues were earlier projected to reach $122 billion-$130.8 billion by 2022 after a compound annual growth rate of 8.89-9.96%.

The department expects the proposed economic reform legislations, infrastructure, and digitalization programs to boost the country’s export capacities.

The reforms should also “unleash our potential in higher value sectors such as in electronics, automotive, aerospace, IT BPM, copper and the creative industries, plus the potential in halal exports,” Mr. Lopez said. — Arjay L. Balinbin