The mission, which recently completed its annual country review, raised doubts on the import and export data provided by the National Statistics Office that did not tally with the data reported by its trading partners like China...
"They are assuming that our data are imperfect and that of our trading partners are not," a top government official said.
But the official said that based on the country's data on exports of minerals versus imports of minerals by China, one of the biggest importers of these products from the Philippines, the data were pretty close.
But the official said smuggling was highly probable especially with regards to imports of oil. The official noted that some cargo ship liners carrying crude oil would transfer the product to smaller vessels in the high seas.
"So if you look at the import data, import (bill) is rising because of higher price but volume is steady or going down. How can you reconcile that with an expanding economy?" the official said.
"If that's the concern, that should be addressed to BOC (Bureau of Customs), not NSO because the trade data of NSO were just being derived from Customs," the official explained.
In 2000, Philippine exports to China amounted to only $663 million and imports from China amounted to $786 million, resulting in a trade deficit of $123 million. By 2006, exports to China surged to $4.63 billion as against imports of only $3.65 billion, yielding a trade surplus of $980 million.
IMF raises concern on RP trade data--sources