Following the impressive growth of the Philippine manufacturing sector in the first nine months of the year, the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and the its industry development and investments promotion arm—the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), remain confident that the sector will continue to outperform its Southeast Asian neighbor countries given the rosy business conditions in the country coupled with sound economic fundamentals and industrial policies and programs.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) early this month reported that the economy grew 6.9 percent, pushed by a robust manufacturing industry which expanded by 9.4 percent and increased its share to GDP by 22.4 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

The growth was one of the fastest in the region, outpacing other Asian countries China (6.8 percent), Malaysia (5.8 percent), and Singapore (4.6 percent).

The services sector accounted for the highest share to gross domestic product (GDP) at 58.9 percent, followed by the industry sector (33.3 percent), and agriculture sector (7.5 percent). Manufacturing accounted for 69 percent of the total output of industry.

Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez said the agency is closing in on a minimum growth target for the manufacturing industry to 25 percent of the country’s GDP given these figures.

“The Department remains relentless in its efforts to revive factories, expand production, generate employment, and enable the industry to provide the catalyst that will build the seamless link between a productive agriculture and a strong services sector,” Secretary Lopez said.

To attain this objective, Secretary Lopez said the DTI-BOI formulated a new industrial policy known as Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (or i3S). i3S aims at growing innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services while strengthening their linkages into domestic and global value chains.

“With innovation at the front and center of the country’s strategic policies and programs, industries would be in a better position to face competition in both domestic and export markets. With accompanying measures to improve capacity to penetrate export markets, industries could take advantage of increasing returns to scale and market access opportunities especially those arising from free trade agreements and increasing regional integration in the ASEAN Economic Community. Innovation is crucial in addressing the challenges from automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and other new technologies,” Secretary Lopez said.

i3S will be among the topics for discussion at the Manufacturing Summit 2017 on November 29, 2017.

Bringing together partners in sustaining the revival of the Philippine manufacturing sector and stakeholders in the development of local industries, the Summit’s primary objectives are to review the status of the country’s policies and programs for the continued growth and competitiveness of the manufacturing industries in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and to define ways forward and next steps towards generating more and better jobs and creating greater opportunities for entrepreneurship in the country.

It will feature plenary panel sessions on the government’s industry development programs; a discussion on the impact of Industry 4.0 on Philippine industries; and a presentation of the new industrial vision for the Philippines. These will pick up from the results of the First Manufacturing Summit in 2016 and the Inclusive Innovation Conference and succeeding regional innovation seminar-workshops in 2017.

The first session will cover the status of the implementation of the industry roadmaps and their respective priority projects (particularly for the DTI’s priority industries which include automotive (Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program), aerospace, electronics, agribusiness, Information Technology-Business Process Management, and transport and logistics, among others), and provide some updates on the recommendations from the Manufacturing Summit in 2016.

The second session will be a discussion on how Industry 4.0 will affect Philippine industries, the challenges it poses for industry growth, and the ways that firms could employ in order to take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

The third session will be a presentation on the new industrial vision for the Philippines, taking into consideration the ongoing dialogue between the Philippines and Japan on industrial cooperation. Each session will feature keynote remarks by major speakers and followed by a panel discussion comprised of representatives from the government, industry, and academe.

The Summit will be concluded by a panel discussion among Secretaries on areas for coordination and collaboration in order to realize the President’s vision of an industrialized Philippines

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo meanwhile said the BOI is forecasting a robust manufacturing sector with more high-impact, labor intensive, and socially-relevant manufacturing investment projects coming in.

“With the swift approval of the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP) which was designed to spread the benefits of the country’s fast economic growth to the countryside with emphasis on a broader segment of the manufacturing sector, innovation-driven, and job-generating businesses, we see a robust growth of manufacturing investment projects this year,” said Undersecretary Rodolfo.

The manufacturing sector generated a total of PhP49 Billion investments in 2016 or 11 percent of total investments last year. In the first four months of 2017, the sector recorded a 158 percent growth with investment projects amounting to PhP15.425 Billion from only PhP5.96 Billion recorded in the same period last year. Investments in the sector is expected to generate at least 3,038 in new jobs once these business projects are operational.

“The revival of the manufacturing sector is key to inclusive economic growth because it will generate much-needed employment and help the country tap regional production networks,” Rodolfo said.