Zero tariffs boost PH exports to ASEAN but imports grow at faster pace
CLARK, Pampanga — Philippine merchandise exports to nine other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have rebounded from last year’s dismal performance.
Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s export to ASEAN increased by 11.17 percent in January to September 2017 to $7.16 billion from $6.41 billion in the same period last year.
This was a turnaround from the 4.8 percent drop in exports last year compared to revenues in 2015.
In 2016, top export products of the country to ASEAN included electronic products, manufactured goods, chemicals, metal components, and machinery and transport equipment.
On the other hand, Philippine imports from ASEAN member states reached $17.65 billion in the first eight months of 2017 or 8.9 percent higher from $16.2 billion worth of imports in the same period last year.
The faster pace of import over export growth has led to to $10.49 billion trade deficit with region in the first nine months this year, up by 7.15 percent from $9.79 billion last year.
Top imported goods of the country from ASEAN in 2016 were electronic products, transport equipment, mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, food and live animals, and industrial machinery and equipment.
Total trade of the Philippines to ASEAN rose 9.7 percent to $24.81 billion in the first seven months of 2017 from $22.61 billion in the same period in 2016.
Governor for the Philippines at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and former Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the elimination of tariff among ASEAN countries had significant impact on improving trade in the region.
ASEAN began cutting tariff rates in 2010.
To date, more than 99 percent of tariff lines in the region have zero import duties.