Exporters urged to sell fast-moving goods in US

By: Juli Ann M. Sibi April 06,2016 - 09:48 PM
DOING BUSINESS IN US/APRIL 05,2016:Nicholas Lea Johnson President and CEO Asia Etc. talk on Market Opportunities in the US for FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) during the Doing Business with the US at Park Lane hotel. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Nicholas Lea Johnson, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Asia Etc. and Rose Castillo, Department of Trade and Industry–Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) representative are the speakers in yesterday’s “Doing Business in the US” forum at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel. (CDN PHOTOS/LITO TECSON)

After a recorded slump in Central Visayas exports in 2015, Cebuano exporters are encouraged to sell fast-moving consumer goods in mainstream markets in the United States.

Fast-moving consumer goods are relatively low cost goods, which include processed foods, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, and many other consumables. These goods are among the Philippines’ top export products, making up at least 10 percent of the country’s total exports.

Exporters should “level-up” their goods and target grocery chains and giant retailers in the United States, and not just the “oriental” and “ethnic” markets, said Department of Trade and Industry–Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) representative Rose Castillo.

Castillo said at present, Filipino exporters often aim to sell their products to Filipinos and other Asian settlers in the United States, and this can limit the growth of the product being sold.

“By targeting bigger markets in company projections, your product has more chances of growing,” Castillo said.

Nicholas Lea Johnson, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Asia Etc., said that the United States has a huge market for cheaper goods, especially for all-natural products with “tropical ingredients,” especially for coconut.

“Coconut products have a market in the US because we don’t really produce coconuts over there. Same goes for other tropical products like papaya, banana, among others,” Johnson said.

Asia Etc. is a company that brings products from different locations in Asia to the United States for reselling in bigger chains such as Costco, Food Emporium, Trader Joe’s and Kroger among others.

Filipino exporters, through companies like Asia Etc., will be able to penetrate the US mainstream market.

Johnson said the challenge lies in mass-producing goods, since he is aware that majority of the Cebu exporters are MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises).

“If you can create, maybe a 5-year projection plan, maybe you can target exporting to the United States,” Johnson added.

DTI-EMB’s Castillo said that they are promoting exports to the United States because of the reauthorization of the country in the US’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) which has reduced duties for over 5,000 products from the Philippines.

“GSP allows lesser constraints for Filipino exporters since it becomes cheaper to sell goods with reduced duties,” Castillo added.

Some of the US GSP eligible products include mangoes, papayas, bananas, citrus and pineapple jams, seafood, metal jewelry, motor vehicle parts and even rubber tires.

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