Manila, May 4, 2003 -- Exports by companies operating at the special economic zones increased 9.27 percent to $5.603 billion in the first quarter of the year from $5.13 billion in the same period in 2001, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reported yesterday.

PEZA director-general Lilia de Lima said this demonstrated the resiliency of economic zone export-producers for the period in the wake of the general slowdown of the global economy.

In 2002, export revenues out of the zones reached $22.775 billion up 16.8 percent from $19.498 billion in 2001. They took up about 67 percent of the $34 billion exports for the entire year.

"The slow but steady recovery of the semiconductor and electronics industry boosted economic zone manufactured export revenues," De Lima said.

Electronic and semiconductor products comprise about 64 percent of the total products manufactured in PEZA ecozones. There are about 57 operating economic zones in the country today, four of which are run by the government- Bataan, Baguio City, Mactan and Cavite.

The rest is privately-owned and accounts for 70 percent of total shipments out of ecozones.

The PEZA is hoping this would be the second year of recovery of exports out of the ecozones. In 2001, exports of manufactured goods from PEZA zones was slightly down to $19.5 billion from $20 billion from 2000 as a result of the overall decline in exports.

Among the top ecozones in terms of exports was Ayala-owned Laguna Technopark, home to American-Korean semiconductor firm Amkor technology Philippines and Toshiba Information Equipment (Philippines) Inc.., maker of computer parts and peripherals Carlmelray Industrial Park, host to Fujitsu Computer Products, manufacturer of magneto optical disc drive, component parts and semi-finished computers for export to Japan and Baguio City ecozone, whose biggest locator and exporter is Texas Instruments Philippines, producer of chips for wireless digital communication.

A key indicator of strong exports in future years in the registration of new projects locating in the PEZA zones. IN the first four months, investments registered with PEZA amounted to P6.41 billion.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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