Electronic products top Philippine exports to the MENA, UAE in 2021

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Workers pouring molten metal from flasks into moulds in foundry. Photo: BOI

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Traditionally an agricultural country classified as a middle-income economy and, commonest perceived to be mostly raking in hefty dollars by way of its fresh and processed tropical fruits, the number one export of the Philippines to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and specifically to the UAE in 2021, were electronic products worth $179,845,931.00 (Dhs660,573,242.06) and $104.81 million (Dhs384,966.605.95), respectively.

The top five Philippine exports to the MENA and the UAE as well as the top five Philippine imports from the UAE were obtained by Gulf Today from the Philippine Trade Investment Center-Dubai (PTIC-Dubai) on Wednesday evening.

In a recent Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) press release, quoting the Philippine Statistics Authority preliminary data: “Despite continued disruptions in the global economy due to restrictions (relative to the persisting Novel Coronavirus), Philippine exports grew by 15.2 per cent from January to November 2021 to $68.4 billion (Dhs251,232,858,000.00) compared to the same period in 2020. Philippine merchandise exports increased by 6.6 per cent year-on-year accounting to $6.3 billion (Dhs23,139,868,500.00) in November 2021 from $5.9 billion (Dhs21,670,670,500.00) in November 2020.”

Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez pointed out: “The 2021 figure also grew by 4.91 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, which amounted to $65.17 billion (Dhs239,369,410,000.00). This reflected a better export performance compared to the pre-pandemic level.”

Concerning the top global Philippine electronics exports in 2021, these were components/devices (semiconductors), electronic data processing and other electronics, telecommunication, and consumer electronics. Records from the US-based trade and lobby group Semiconductor Industry Association, showed exports in November 2021 amounted to $3.7 billion (Dhs13,590,081,500.00) which brought the year-to-date electronic exports to $42.0 billion (Dhs154,265,790,000.00), 14.2 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. Cumulative total of semiconductors sold through November 2021 reached $1.05 trillion (Dhs3,856,644,750,000.00), which is the industry’s highest-ever annual total.

According to the PTIC-Dubai, Philippine exports to the MENA for 2021 was valued at $549,519,642.00 (Dhs2.018,382,897.47), Philippine exports to the UAE at $245,101,550.00 (Dhs900,256,767.64), and Philippine imports from the UAE at $705,998,068.00 (Dhs2,593,127,373.77). Total bilateral trade between the UAE and the Philippines was $951.1 million (Dhs3,493,385,544.50).

The second to fifth top 2021 Philippine exports to the MENA were processed food and beverages at $105,442,301.00 (Dhs387,289,044.36); fresh bananas, $70,821,252.00 (Dhs260,126,104.49); chemicals, $30,294,654.00 (Dhs111,272,112.67); and fresh pineapple and products, $28,129,152.00 (Dhs103,318,234.65).

The second to fifth top 2021 Philippine exports to the UAE, home to approximately 600,000 Filipinos with adults ranging from 19 to over 70 years old, were processed food and beverages, $47.32 million (Dhs173,806,123.40); fresh pineapples and products, $16.68 million (Dhs61,265,556.60); chemicals, $12.73 million (Dhs46,757,226.35); and machinery & transport equipment, $12.37 million (Dhs45,434,948.15).

The top five Philippine imports from the UAE in 2021 were crude petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, $11,304,212.00 (Dhs41,520,314.50); “other than light and N.E.S” petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, $108,267,035.00 (Dhs397,664,278.22); liquefied butanes, $69,678,866.00 (Dhs255,930,126.42); light petroleum oils and preparations, $64,360,312.00 (Dhs236,395,104.17); and liquefied propane, $56,838,095.00 (Dhs208,766,038.74).

From the press release, Secretary Lopez announced the continuing participation of the Southeast Asian country to the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire calendared at the Dubai World.

From the press release, Secretary Lopez announced the continuing participation of the Southeast Asian country to the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire calendared at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Feb. 13 to 17: “We have seen strong growth in most of our exported commodity groups and we will be ramping up our initiatives on export marketing to ensure that the country sustains and surpasses 2021’s export rebound. DTI will be leading a series of export promotion activities in the MENA region, including in-store promotion of Philippine food products in leading supermarkets in the UAE.”

Lopez also announced the DT “drafting” of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2022-2027 “to improve the country’s competitiveness in international markets, with an overarching goal of transforming the country from an exporter of commodities and intermediate goods to an exporter of high value products and services. The new PEDP is envisioned to take an industry development approach to boost export competitiveness; that is, by attracting export-oriented investments in innovation driven-sectors to increase product and service diversification.”

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