Furniture makers eye SEA market to boost exports
Furniture makers eye SEA market to boost exports
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s furniture makers are looking to tap the Southeast Asian market as they aim to see growth in exports this year.

Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP)  president Nicolaas De Lange told reporters on the sidelines of the Manila FAME trade show the group expects furniture exports to rise by five to seven percent this year compared to last year.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show revenues from exports of furniture and fixtures reached $242.335 million in 2013, up from $179.71 million in the previous year.

“We’re taking a serious look at Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)... and we want to be able to position ourselves,” De Lange said.

He noted that as each Asean country has a particular offering in terms of furniture, Philippine furniture makers can operate in the medium to upper-end designer product segment.

“I think we are going to focus on the regional market more than anything because it is so accessible to us,” he said.

Asean accounts for less than 10 percent of Philippine furniture exports.

To be able to tap countries in the region, the CFIP is working with other members of the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council.

“We’re trying to create a sort of reciprocal arrangement where they can come here and explore our markets and we will go there to do the same using their network and we’ll expose them to our network here,” De Lange said.

The US is currently the top destination of Philippine furniture exports, with a 70 to 75 percent share.

With the US housing sector seen to be improving, De Lange said the industry is hopeful such would support growth in exports.

As the government is providing support to local industries through various programs to help them promote their products, he said the CFIP is also optimistic that this would improve furniture exports.

Trade undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. told reporters that while the government does not have a fund dedicated to exporters, the Manila FAME organized by the department and attended by many buyers provides opportunity to local businesses to showcase their products.

“This (Manila FAME) in effect is helping exporters, helping them display their products. This in effect is promotion for the Philippines,” he said.

The Manila FAME trade show held twice every year is the country’s premiere trade platform for export and design, featuring various products for export such as furniture, handicrafts and wearable accessories.

As for domestic sales, De Lange said the CFIP expects it to rise by 10 to 15 percent this year.

ASEAN ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS CHAMBER OF FURNITURE INDUSTRIES OF THE PHILIPPINES DE LANGE EXPORTS FURNITURE FURNITURE INDUSTRIES COUNCIL NICOLAAS DE LANGE PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY PONCIANO MANALO JR.
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