This chapter is an interpretive essay examining the related influences of foreign trade and trade policy on income growth and distribution in the Philippines based on existing studies and findings. It also analyzes other types of international economic transactions – foreign investment and remittances – to determine their contribution to advancing the twin objectives of economic growth and equity. The chapter begins by describing the evolution of Philippine trade and exchange rate policies since the early 1970s and examining their effects on sectoral incentives. It then discusses the growth and changing structure of Philippine foreign trade, relating them to the nature of domestic policies adopted. Further repercussions of trade and exchange rate policies on overall income growth and distribution are presented, as are the roles of other international transactions in the promotion of economic growth with equity and how they have been influenced by government policies. Finally, the chapter addresses relevant issues concerning recent domestic and international developments that bear directly on the country's trade regime.
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