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Furniture makers seek more raw materials imports

MANILA, Philippines - Furniture industry players are urging the government to relax the rules on the importation of raw materials, saying limited timber supply has triggered prices to go up.

Salvio Valenzuela, executive director of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP), attributed the price hike to the strict import regulation and the implementation of Executive Order 23 imposing a moratorium on tree cutting in natural and residual forest.

This is worsened by tedious import documentary requirements and procedures as laid down by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administration Order 99-46.

“Where will we source our materials? If you want to regulate, if you are banning or you have a moratorium on the local sourcing, then you have to relax the importation of raw materials,” he said.

Valenzuela said the furniture sector and other industries also needing timber compete for limited wood supply in the country. This is driving prices higher.

Apart from this, he said the industry is faced with serious competition from other countries exporting cheaper furniture.

“I think because of the zero-tariff, it is easier to import furniture. So although there are huge prospects in the local market, hotels and resorts, which are institutional markets for our local furniture exporters, are importing,” he said.

Valenzuela said this is because imported furniture products are priced lower compared with the local ones.

To address this, he underscored the need to review the policies on the importation of furniture.  

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