THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is seeking data sharing and greater disaggregation of the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In a data dissemination forum on Monday, the Chief Eco-Development Specialist of the Neda Trade, Services, and Industry Staff said the IMTS informs the Neda in the formulation of policy and in the preparation of positions related to tariffs, among others.
As such, Cecilia Angela D. Labadan said, Neda’s recommendations to improve the IMTS includes the creation of a shared IMTS database for quick updating and greater disaggregation for key commodities.
“Instead of Neda requesting for the updated tables which can cause delay in report preparation, it may be better if there is access to a database where the updated numbers can be accessed right away,” Labadan said.
“The IMTS could be of further use if certain data could be disaggregated. This would help create a more accurate picture of the trade levels of products of interest,” she also said.
Labadan said these improvements can help provide technical support to the Committee on Trade and Related Matters (CTRM), one of the seven inter-agency committees under the Neda Board.
The CTRM advises the President and the Neda Board on the effects on the country of various international developments; coordinates and recommends national positions for international economic negotiations; and rationalizes programs for the country’s tariff structure.
Labadan said the IMTS is also needed for tariff modification and proposed free trade agreements (FTA) as well as briefings for the country’s trade partners.
Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba said the country’s import performance was still below prepandemic levels.
“Looking now at Philippine trade for exports, we have already recovered but not for imports which are still below their prepandemic levels,” Aldaba said.
Based on 2021 first-semester data, PSA Assistant National Statistician Divina Gracia L. Del Prado said the country’s imports reached $53.99 billion in the first semester of 2021 and grew 31.4 percent.
The highest total imports of $9.97 billion was posted in June 2021. The highest growth was recorded at 153.2 percent in April 2021.
The country’s total exports reached $35.98 billion in the first semester, or a 21.1-percent growth. The highest total exports reached $6.77 billion in March 2021.
PSA data also showed the highest growth for 2021 was at 74.1 percent in April 2021.