Globalization in the Philippines

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Last week's report by Artemio Cusi III in BusinessMirror said globalization has cushioned the impact of the political crisis in the country. That's correct. The Philippine economy is no longer what it used to be twenty years ago. Trade reforms ushered in by the country's tariff reform that (surprise! surprise!) started in the waning years of President Ferdinand Marcos and accelerated by the country's participation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) were the reasons for this. About two-thirds of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) are now accounted for by the globalized sectors of the economy comprising merchandize exports, services exports (ie business process outsourcing), and remittances by overseas Filipino workers. All these globalized sectors of the Philippine economy are really the ones preventing the country from tearing apart. A lot of fresh graduates are finding jobs in call centers, medical transcription business, litigation support, among others. Call centers alone need 50,000 workers each year! Had it not for these outsourcing companies, those kids might have vented their frustrations in "people power" gambits by politicians. Of course, close to $14 billion (i.e. $12 billion coming through formal financial channels and another $2 billion through informal channels) translates to P728 billion worth of purchasing power. It's this volume of money that is making our factories and the services sectors (e.g. finance, real estate, telecommunication, wholesale and retail, business services) busy. Agriculture itself, given good weather, is now capable of growing at 4-6 percent, boosted by the sector's greater access to inputs, bio-medics, and packaging materials. Oil prices have been rising owing to increasing demand from China, India, and United States as well as the continuing geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East. Yet, inflation in the country has been relatively manageable. Again the reason for this is globalization. Trade liberalization...
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