This overdependence on trade with traditional markets like the United States has made us ‘blind’ to other potential markets like Latin America. I can’t understand why we, despite having a Spanish-speaking President at the helm, we don’t have a clear trade policy with the Spanish-speaking nations of South America.
The days of Banana Republics are gone and are perhaps best remembered on the tee shirt (even that is laos na rin!) and South American economies have boomed beyond our wildest imagination.
A check on our trade data with the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB) with these countries show that we only had (in US$ thousands of dollars, 2003 data) US$ 35, 823 worth of exports to South America (Brazil, followed by Argentina), while we exported more to East Asia (China, Japan, HK, Korea and Taiwan) at US$ 14, 812, 357 followed by North America (USA, Canada) at US$ 7,581,984 and Europe (mostly to the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain in that order) at US$ 3, 302, 810.
The data, however, doesn’t say what exactly we exported to the said continents. No, human labor export doesn’t count. That’d account for incoming remittances.
I am curious to know who among our non-Spanish speaking SEA neighbors have gained significant headway as to trade with that region. That’d be the day we’d get the shock of our lives. It defies good common sense that we have not used our Spanish connection to the fullest.
If the US$ 30 million annual ODA we get from Spain is any indication, we definitely have lost the Crown’s favor.
Que barbaridad indeed.
For quick reliable facts about the Philippines, visit http://www.nscb.gov.ph/.