South Korean firms are targeting to expand trade with the Philippines as they seek for local business partners to bring and distribute their products here.
About 55 South Korean companies participated in the Overseas Korean Traders’ Association of the Philippines’ (OKTA) Feel Korea 2015 held from November 6 to 8 in Taguig City to promote trade relations between the two Asian countries.
Most of these firms came from the food and beverage, cosmetics, electronics, automotive parts manufacturing and agricultural machinery sectors.
South Korea’s Jinju City also held its trade mission in Manila following the same activity in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Guangzhou, China.
Jinju City Enterprise and Commerce Department Director Seong-Jin Park said Jinju-based firms have seen business opportunities in the Philippine market particularly in automotive, agriculture, and cosmetics sectors.
“Our MSMEs [micro, small, and medium enterprises] want to capture this potential in the Philippine market as they target to expand in south part of Korea,” said Park.
For the part of Myunglim Co. Ltd. CEO Sung-Jin Jang, he said the Philippines is a growing market for the company.
Myunglim manufactures engine parts and supplies to auto industry as well as agricultural
Jang said the company may look into investing in the country in the future as the cheap labor cost here is very attractive to investors.
He, however, noted that there are still challenges needed to be addressed which foreign firms find cumbersome in investing here which include infrastructure and government regulations on labor, among others.
On the other hand, KB Cosmetics, which is among the top cosmetics manufacturer in South Korea also aims to expand its distribution partners in the Philippines.
KB Cosmetics CEO You Geun Kim said the company is eyeing for larger distributors, particularly mall owners.
Kim added that KB Cosmetics’ current partners in the Philippines are skin clinics.
He said the Philippines is its fifth largest market in Asia and sees the business to further grow in the local market.
Aside from Asia, the company also supplies cosmetic products to Europe and South America.
South Korea is one of the top 10 trade partners of the Philippines which both are benefiting from the Asean-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.