• Philippine exporters ready for Asean integration


    THE Philippines is gearing to build export industries where it has competitive advantages and will enable the country to exploit opportunities arising from Asean integration come 2015.

    Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

    “It is important to note that the greater majority of our exports today are more and more being influenced by the dynamics of the global value chain,” said Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) president, in a statement.

    Ortiz-Luis identified the big-ticket items and export winners, which include electronics and semiconductors, automotives and machineries, and consumer goods such garments, furniture and some agriculture-based products.

    He said that services, being largely call centers and shared services of multinational companies, are investment-driven and also form part of the global value chain.

    Ortiz-Luis also cited the potential of creative industries particularly animation, movie making, book publishing and interactive media.

    He said that the industry and its stakeholders aim to expand indigenous exports that utilize mainly local raw materials and make full use of the creative energies of Filipino artisans, artists and craftsmen.

    These export products include fine and fashion jewelry and furniture and home furnishings.

    However, the export sector leader underscored the bigger challenge posed by Asean 2015 in these sectors.

    “We produce almost similar products with those of our Asean counterparts. But our edge can come from our workers’ natural flair for design, creativity and commitment to quality and hard work,” Ortiz-Luis said.

    He also cited various programs aimed at addressing gaps in improving productivity and efficiency of the workers.

    “This is imperative to help us comply with the regional and even global standards that are increasing in number and importance if manufacturers want to secure global markets,” Ortiz-Luis said.

    He said that the sector’s Asean 2015 agenda also cover facilitating a competitive currency, fast tracking infrastructure projects, institutionalization of the Export Support Fund starting in the budget year 2014, completion of reforms at the Bureau of Customs and the approval of relevant bills.

    “We are hoping that the next 18 months in preparation will be enough to put the country at the same level as our neighbors who have prepared ahead of us,” Ortiz-Luis said.

    The Asean market remains to be the Philippine second top export destination, accounting for a 22-percent share in the total merchandise exports in May 2013 at $1.2 billion.


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