Mandaue business group eyes trade ties with Aspac countries
THE Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has a lot on its plate as it gears up for at least four trade missions across Asia and the Pacific in 2017.
Glenn Soco, MCCI president, said they plan to send delegates to explore business and investment opportunities in Laos in Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand, Ayabe in Japan, as well as Thailand next year.
“Laos is a new frontier as their country is opening up to foreign investors. They are keen on building stronger trade with the Philippines also,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
In the same manner, Soco said they are also exploring opportunities with Australia and New Zealand as well as learning from their best practices.
The chamber leader said this was discussed when the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ANZCHAM) joined an investment forum in Mandaue City last August.
He cited governance and ease of doing business, particularly securing business permits, as among the things practiced in Australia and New Zealand that the Philippines can emulate.
Soco said it takes an average of one day to process business permits there while it takes an average of three years in the Philippines.
“If (the trade mission) really happens, we’d like to bring with us local government officials also,” he said.
N. Zealand, Australia
Soco said the chamber is also interested in New Zealand and Australia’s “incubator” for micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSME) since the empowerment of these businesses is among MCCI’s advocacies.
In 2017, he said the MCCI will strengthen this advocacy by pursuing initial discussions with the Cebu provincial government on crafting programs for MSME development.
Soco added that the Mandaue City government is also going to sign a sisterhood agreement with Ayabe in Japan.
“We also want to see trade and investment opportunities there. Likewise, we support the local government unit on this development,” said Soco.
He said that Ayabe government officials, during their visit to Mandaue earlier this year, mentioned that they needed skilled workers for their different industries.
There was also an invitation to MCCI from Thailand’s Trade and Investments Bureau, Soco added.
He said they have been asked to mount a trade exhibit there, although details have not been finalized yet.
Soco said the chamber is planning to launch these trade missions beginning in the first or second quarter next year.
Among the industries in Mandaue City expected to benefit from these trade missions are the food manufacturing segment, motor parts, and furniture, he added.
“I think Mandaue is positioning itself as a high-value manufacturing city. Manufacturing, being the biggest industry here, we are looking for buyers, trade with other countries, sourcing of raw materials, and exchange of information,” said Soco.
The business leader also said that the chamber will revisit its ties with Vladimir and St. Petersburg since President Rodrigo Duterte is moving toward stronger relations with Russia.
Since MCCI has participated in several trade missions in China, it will also review past agreements and initiatives to see where the group can capitalize or how it can align with the administration’s present thrust.
“It is important to prepare for the good things yet to come,” said Soco.
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