Industrialization strategy eyed (Philexport News and Features)

The Philippines will finally have a comprehensive industrialization strategy by next year.

This was announced last week by Adrian Cristobal Jr., undersecretary for international trade of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on the second day of the 38th Philippine Business Conference of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

In his presentation, Cristobal, who also heads the Board of Investments, told the

country's business leaders that no less than 50 industry groups are now in the midst of drawing up their specific industry roadmaps.

The roadmaps will be consolidated by the industry leaders and the DTI by the end of this year. Early next year, a comprehensive industrialization strategy will submitted to President Benigno Aquino III for approval.

The plan, the first to be hammered out since the end of the Marcos martial law regime, is expected to form part of the medium-term Philippine development plan of the current administration.


The goal of such a comprehensive industrialization strategy, Cristobal explained, “is to make the Philippines a seller, not just a consumer, of other countries' goods and services.”

The Philippines is a net importer of goods, including food products, and has a ballooning trade deficit.

Cristobal’s announcement was in response to one of the key resolutions passed by the country's business leaders in last year’s Philippine Business Conference (PBC).

In that resolution submitted to President Aquino on the last day of the PBC, PCCI noted that the economic development plan of the administration did not have an industrialization component. It called on the executive department of the National Government to adopt one.

The call was then followed early this year with a study made by a senior economist of

the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which found that a missing link in the country's bid for progress is its very thin industrial and manufacturing sector.

The ADB economist concluded that the Philippines’ economic growth could not stand on the services sector alone. He further called for the strengthening of that sector.

The ADB later meter with industry and government leaders to develop a plan that would pave the way for more investments from foreign firms and international development agencies.

During last week’s PBC in Manila, ADB vice president Lakshmi Venkatachalamm mentioned in her keynote speech the urgent need for a strong industrial sector, which she

described as “the missing link in the country's development strategy.”

She said the country’s inclusive growth requires a “much broader diversification of the economy, with an emphasis on a strong industrial sector, to create productive job opportunities for the unemployed or underemployed workers with lesser skills and fewer prospects.”

She noted that the booming business process outsourcing sector can only absorb 1.5 percent of the labor force and only the college educated.

original source: (Philexport News and Features)