An official from the country’s furniture and handicraft industry said industry players are bound to face tougher market conditions when the economies of the Southeast Asian region integrate two years from now.
Christina Gaston, chairman of the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, told The Manila Times that when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into force by 2015, the trade barriers currently in place are likely to be torn down within the region.
Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Gaston said competition among furniture makers in the Southeast Asian would be tougher because of free trade.
Gaston added that upgrading the production processes of the Philippine furniture industry will be a challenge, since not all businesses in the industry have the resources for such purpose.
However, Gaston said the AEC will present opportunities for local furniture makers to allow them to make their brands known to other countries in Southeast Asia.
The AEC will also help local furniture makers embark on product improvement to meet the standards of the international market.
Top local furniture companies are preparing to take part in the 2014 Philippine International Furniture Show, set to be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from March 14 to 17.
The event is a collaboration of the three largest furniture manufacturing associations based in Manila, Pampanga and Cebu.
Now on its third year, the event will bring together almost a hundred exhibitors from all over the country to showcase their works in furniture, home accessories, lighting fixtures and art pieces, among others.