Exporters urged to focus on local, emerging markets

By Victor Anthony V. Silva |August 11,2016 - 09:06 PM
Tourists check out the fashion accessories in the August 2015 Apec exhibit at the SM Cebu Mall. Fashion accessories are among the country’s export products hit by the weak global markets. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Tourists check out the fashion accessories in the August 2015 Apec exhibit at the SM Cebu Mall. Fashion accessories are among the country’s export products hit by the weak global markets. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Amid a weak global market, exporters are encouraged to temporarily focus on the domestic market and explore opportunities in emerging markets such as countries in the Asean, European Union, Australia and South America.

“We can tap their wearables market, food sector, vehicles and parts, and even services,” said Federico Escalona, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Cebu executive director in an interview yesterday.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier made a similar statement, where he encouraged exporters to focus on the local market to help reduce the external shocks from times of weak demand from the traditional markets.

Furniture sector

Philexport Cebu Chairman Apolinar Suarez Jr. also cited the local furniture industry as among the sectors “doing good” despite the weak global demand for export products.

“They can move to local because a big portion of their production is still domestic. The market is good considering all these condominium developments and hotels opening everywhere that are in need of furnishings,” Suarez said.

He said the government and private sectors have been working together to facilitate the ease of doing business for exporters in the Philippines.

The Department of Trade and Industry as well as the Department of Science and Technology, he added, are also providing technologies that help strengthen the industries.

Food, services, BPOs

He also said that sectors in the export industry such as food, services, and business process outsourcing are doing well.

“But these are not enough when the demand for the rest of the export commodities is really down,” Suarez said.

He said exporters just need to keep up with the the times and hope the global market picks up soon.

Escalona also said that the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017 had been seeking to make the industry more competitive but this had been difficult to do without buyers.

“Nothing much really (can be done) as the problem is a global economic slowdown,” he told Cebu Daily News.

In a recent Inquirer report, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) called for improved efforts to ensure that industries in the Philippines remain competitive despite the slump in export earnings.

Export earnings down

For the 15th month in a row, export earnings declined by 11.4 percent year-on-year in June.

The $4.75 billion in export receipts recorded in June was considered to be the fastest-dropping in three consecutive months.

According to the report, the decrease was worst at 17.4 percent in May 2015 when exports totaled at $4.9 billion.

Decreases in receipts for nine of 10 export commodities amid weak demand from major export markets, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) pointed out, was the reason behind the decline.

For the first half of 2016, total merchandise exports reached $29 billion, reflecting an increase of 7.5 percent from $26.8 billion in the comparative period of 2015.

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