MANILA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Philippine trade grew 14.2 percent in January this year buoyed by export receipts, the government said on Friday, while warning that U.S. protectionist policies may hamper its momentum and global recovery.
The National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement that the Philippines recorded a total 12.6 billion U.S. dollars in January 2017. It said imports grew by 9.1 percent, while exports grew by 22.5 percent.
"Export receipts from nearly all major markets experienced growth," the statement read. It said export to China grew 26.3 percent, to South Korea, 50.5 percent, ASEAN, 19.3 percent, European Union, 82.5 percent, and the United States, 16.5 percent.
"We are not riding the waves of economic growth in the region," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. "As such, we must continue to push for innovation and infrastructure development to fuel our momentum and drive us to the forefront of the race."
The agency said that export earnings climbed to 5.1 billion U.S. dollars in January, propelled by growth in most commodities led by forest products, agro-based products and manufactures.
However, it said that import payments decelerated to 7.4 billion U.S. dollars due to the decrease in demand for capital goods, which offset the gains of consumer goods, raw materials and intermediate goods, and mineral fuels and lubricants.
Pernia said that global growth and trade risk remain, warning that U.S. protectionist policies may hamper global recovery, as counter-measures will be imposed but its trading partners.
He stressed the need to support the country's economy by strengthening the production capability and linkages, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing to help the country meeting both internal and external demands.
All Asian economies posted positive trade figures, with the Philippines posting the third highest year-on-year growth which is preceded by Indonesia at 21.1 percent and Singapore at 19.9 percent, and followed by Malaysia at 12.0 percent and China, 11.4 percent.
"This is a signal that our efforts in forging better relations with our Asian neighbors and the E.U. are finally paying off," Pernia said.