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Freeman Cebu Business

Exporters call for funding for global trade promotions

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Exporters are calling for government support to help the small and medium enterprises to participate in international trade fairs and exhibits.

"The government should come up with more incentives for the export industry operators especially in trade promotion and shows," said Philexport-Cebu executive director Fred Escalona.

Escalona joined with the furniture sector's plea for sincere help from the government in helping them maximize the recovering market in the export trade.

Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines  president Nicolaas De Lange lamented over the government’s system in handling monetary support to industries saying there is unfair distribution of government-funds for trade fairs and shows in key markets abroad.

Escalona said that while the government has an existing budget for the purpose, the releasing and implementation is at snail-pace.         

De Lange, who is also the chairman of the Furniture Industry Board Foundation and the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council, financing support for marketing purposes of the export sector, specifically furniture industry, is insufficient and over-controlled.

He further added that the government seems to be playing favorites as he noted that companies who get to participate in government-funded promotional blitz overseas are not the small and medium players, but rather those who have already made their names globally.        

“A lot of furniture companies in the Philippines are small and medium enterprises and they lack the budget to join international trade fairs on a sustainable basis. We are calling on the government to spread out its budget for others to benefit,” De Lange said.

Escalona hopes that while the government is now conscious on guarding the "health" of local exporters amid the heightening competition, enhanced support in promoting Filipino products abroad is expected.

Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry  announced that it is considering funding local franchises’ participation in international shows as it sees the  upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations  integration as  a good opportunity for Filipino businesses to expand overseas.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the department wants to help local franchise firms expand in an increasingly global and competitive market.

“In particular, we at the DTI will seriously look at how we can support participation of Philippine companies in international franchise shows,” he said.

According to Domingo, DTI is studying whether its export marketing arm — the  Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions  — could  partly subsidize the fees needed by local franchises to join shows  overseas.

Similarly, the export sector is looking at getting the same support from the government, specifically the furniture makers. (FREEMAN)

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS CHAMBER OF FURNITURE INDUSTRIES OF THE PHILIPPINES DE LANGE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY ESCALONA FRED ESCALONA FURNITURE GOVERNMENT TRADE
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