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Freeman Cebu Business

Exports to suffer unless government agencies organize

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Local exporters have urged government agencies to collaborate better to deliver good service and help businessmen in their concerns.

During a session organized by the trade agency in Cebu on Tuesday, some exporters criticized the government for its “disorganized” system.

 Venus Genson, new president of Cebu Gift, Toys and Houseware Foundation Inc, called on government agencies to converge and work together “for the common good” of the people, particularly citing the exporters.

 The Department of Trade and Industry discussed during the session on doing business in European Union using the General Scheme of Preferences Plus, a trade tariff scheme.

 “Of course, we want to be in the EU market. I’m exporting in the EU market but I can’t compete with our ASEAN neighbors who have complete support from their governments,” Genson expressed to trade officials as other exporters also raised other concerns.

 “This is something that there should be holistic coordination if you want to grow. We don’t see our government agencies putting their acts together,” another exporter expressed plight.

 In response, DTI Export Marketing Bureau director Senen Perlada noted: “If it’s promotion aspect, we provide all assistance that we can provide within the limits of our resources. Sa akin lang if it is a question of subsidy from DTI, medyo very limited po ang resources – other government agencies have bigger budgets.”

 Perlada said the agency has been pushing for bigger budget for the National Quality Infrastructure which, he added, is a vital component in making Philippine industries particularly the export sector more competitive.

The trade agency said NQI allows manufacturers to have an institutional structure for standards to make local products and services competitive.

 Ritchie Wagas, proprietor of Cebu-based Wagas Crafts, stressed proposals from industries are useless if government agencies are not organized.

 “Ang common observation sa exporters kanya-kanya among survival. We do it on our own. If they [government] want us to be at par with the rest of the world that cannot be because our competitors have support from their government,” Wagas told The FREEMAN at the sidelines of the session. He exports handicrafts to France, United Kingdom and other EU nations.

 Exporters asked the government to support them in trade exhibitions and missions to attract foreign clients overseas. Joining international trade fairs allows local players to promote their products in global markets.  

 They also requested the government to decentralize accreditation processes and make policies easier.

 Wagas said: “The government has to do more. Ilang objective is to be competitive, well, they have to support us.”

 Carmel De Pio-Salvador, president of the forwarders’ association in Cebu, urged fellow businessmen to complain to Investment Ombudsman Team which does policy mediation between private sector and government agencies for investor-related concerns.

 The Office of the Ombudsman created the IOT last year to boost investor confidence and make enabling business environment for local and foreign investors.  (FREEMAN)

CARMEL DE PIO-SALVADOR CEBU CEBU GIFT DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY EUROPEAN UNION EXPORT MARKETING BUREAU GENERAL SCHEME OF PREFERENCES PLUS GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT OMBUDSMAN TEAM
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