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Lopez to cut trade deficit during Duterte admin

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government aims to further lower the country's trade deficit during the Duterte administration, and to make balance of trade favorable to the country in the coming years.

On the sidelines of the National Export Congress Tuesday, Lopez told reporters that he wishes to see trade surplus by 2022, but the government can target at least lower trade deficit by then.

He said structural reforms will require time before leading the country to trade surplus.

"With investments coming in you are building up capacity year on year until such time you really have the capacity to supply the requirements of the economy and exporters, and send outside to export," he added.

"Your production capacity should be that high. Activities should be export-oriented. You go beyond raw materials and simple processing, you climb up the value chain for higher value credits," he said.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that trade deficit for January to September 2017 declined by 3.0 percent to USD18.9 billion from a deficit of USD19.5 billion in the same period in 2016.

This was an improvement from an increment of 152 percent in 2016 and trade surplus surge of 323 percent in 2015.

The declining trade deficit was driven by faster exports growth for the first nine months of the year.

The DTI chief also eyes for higher export revenue target by the end of the Duterte administration.

Under the Philippine Export Development Plan ‎2017-2022, the country targets for export revenue of USD122 billion to USD131 billion by 2022.

Lopez targets revenues to reach USD150 billion.

Kris Crismundo / PNA