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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Exporters urged to be more competitive, face global challenges

As business climate changes in times of uncertainties, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encourages exporters to rise above the global challenges and boost their performance by adding value to their products and services.

In the recently concluded National Exporter Congress, the Philippine exporting community learned more of what they can achieve in global economies despite a continued slow recovery. “Since the global financial crisis, trading worldwide has shifted to multi-country sourcing, domestic and international integration, and vying for preferential regimes,” said DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo said.

With the theme, “Rev Up to Double Up!,” this year’s celebration of the National Exporter’s Week not only focuses the contribution of the export industry to national income but also to identify and foster linkages between value-creating activities for competitive advantage.

Activities such as Usapang Exports, Buy Pinoy Exporter’s Fair and other trade expositions, sessions on Doing Business in the Free Trade Areas (DBFTA’s), themed academic conferences and other special nationwide activities lead by the DTI culminated in the National Export Congress held on December 13, 2011 at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City.

The theme also highlights the implemented Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2011-2012. It is the document that lays down the broad strokes and strategies to realize the national export targets. “The PEDP seeks to double up value of export from US$51.5 billion in 2010 to US$120 billion by 2016,” Domingo said.

The three-pronged strategic framework covers product, market and promotions. There are key several key export sectors that could spur substantial growth. These are IT/BPO and other services, electronics, agribusiness (fresh/processed/marine food products and coconut), minerals, shipbuilding, motor vehicle parts, garments/textile, home style, and wearable. “We also target a 5.8%-real GDP growth and additional 9.1 million job opportunities by 2016,” added Domingo.

The core product strategy is for the local export supply to move along the value chain which means for businesses to be more unique to be competitive in the global market. Exporters have to achieve strong creative input, reliable raw materials and effective branding.

DTI has on the forefront to advocate these strategies to exporters particularly in one of DTI’s banner programs called Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTAs) with seminar/workshops about opportunities within ASEAN and bilateral/regional trade partners like Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Other topics discussed with the exporters were unilateral preferential schemes of US and European Union. Since 2010, over 10,000 businesses benefited the DBFTA sessions organized by DTI.

The first DBFTA outside the country was held in Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand and China recently with business matching activities held for prospective New Zealand importers to source fresh mangoes, mango puree, coco sugar, and coconut oil from the Philippines.

“The DTI’s International Trade Strategy fully supports the administrative vision of attaining inclusive growth with the extent of local value-addition of the product or service, and a more deliberate approach at integrating poor communities into the export-value chain, either through their agri-based resources, or the use of other natural resources,” said Domingo.

Over the next two years, the Philippine export industry will still grow to over US$64 billion despite economic uncertainties. Reden Miranda, PRO-DTI

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