Bilateral merchandise trade between Qatar and the Philippines in the first nine months of 2021 stood at $179.02mn, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Philippines.
Based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data as cited and processed by the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), the DTI also recorded an upward trajectory in Qatar-Philippines bilateral trade from $214.02mn in 2019 to $232.89mn in 2020.
In a statement to Gulf Times Friday, the DTI noted that the Philippines’ total exports to Qatar in 2020 amounted to $45.19mn.
The top Philippine commodity exports to Qatar in 2020 include bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried, which amounted to $13.86mn or a 30.66% share of the total exports. Also included are “other bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and other baker’s wares, whether or not containing cocoa; communion wafers, empty cachets of a kind suitable for pharmaceutical use, sealing wafers, and rice paper and similar products," amounting to $6.02mn or a 13.32% share of the total exports.
This was followed by “other sauces and preparations thereof; mixed condiments and mixed seasonings; mustard flour and meal and prepared mustard" ($2.97mn, 6.57% share), as well as “other pasta, whether or not prepared” ($1.52mn, 3.36%) and “other parts of seats, of heading No 94.01” ($1.47mn, 3.26%).
Conversely, the Philippines’ total imports from Qatar in 2020 amounted to $187.70mn. The Philippines’ top commodity imports from Qatar in 2020 were “light petroleum oils and preparations thereof,” which amounted to $52.15mn and a 27.79% share of the total imports.
This was followed by “urea, whether or not in aqueous solution,” which reached $48.39mn and a 25.78% share of the total imports, as well as “semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel, containing by weight less than 0.25% of carbon of rectangular (including square) cross-section, the width measuring less than twice the thickness” ($35.18mn, 18.74% share); “polyethylene having a specific gravity of less than 0.94, in primary forms” ($19.05mn, 10.15%); and “petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude” ($17.03mn, 9.07%).
In a recent statement, DTI secretary Ramon Lopez announced that the DTI will be leading a series of export promotion activities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region as part of its initiatives to seize opportunities in key sectors and markets. Lopez also said DTI will be participating in various international events and expos to promote Philippine companies and their products to further sustain the growth in Philippine exports. Next month, DTI and Philippine exporters will be participating in Gulfood 2022 or the ‘Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire’, a renowned international platform dedicated to food and beverage processing in the Mena region, he said.
Lopez also said cumulative Philippine exports grew by 15.2% from January to November 2021 to $68.4bn compared to the same period in 2020 despite continued disruptions in the global economy due to Covid-19-related restrictions. Philippine merchandise exports increased by 6.6% year-on-year amounting to $6.3bn in November 2021 from $5.9bn in November 2020.
Lopez pointed out that “the 2021 figure also grew by 4.91% compared to the same period in 2019, which amounted to $65.17bn. This reflected a better export performance compared to the prep-pandemic level.”
November 2021 PSA data also showed that coconut oil recorded the highest annual increase of 95% out of the 10 major commodity groups in terms of export value. The country accounts for 60% of US coconut oil imports and 73% of US crude coconut oil imports. The rise in demand was due to changes in US trade policy, market trends, and dietary guidelines, he said.
Lopez added: “To improve the country’s competitiveness in international markets, the Department of Trade and Industry is leading the drafting of the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2022-2027 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 take an industry development approach to boost export competitiveness i.e. by attracting export-oriented investments in innovation driven-sectors to increase product and service diversification.”