Economist: Local, ASEAN market to sustain Philippine exports
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - September 14, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – An economist said the Philippine’s growing market base is enough to sustain the export industry even as the major markets such as the United States and Europe have not fully recovered yet.

"We are not too dependent on exports. Export is not in trouble," said economist Bernardo Villegas, reiterating his call to exporters not to look far.

Aside from the growing capacity of over 100 million Filipinos to buy, exporters need to seriously entice the 650 million consumer base in the ASEAN region.

"Your market is the Philippines and the ASEAN region first" Villegas told exporters adding that although there are efforts in tapping this potential market, it needs to be intensified further.

On the other hand, Cebuano businessmen including exporters were told to strengthen its regional penetration and supply chain as intra-regional trade will be the new business paradigm in the ASEAN integration, and that member countries should not see themselves as competitors--but as one united economy  conquering the world market.

Economist Cielito Habito made this warning saying that it is not enough for Filipino businesses to guard their market turfs in the Philippine ground, as the ASEAN will open up a wider market ground for businesses to conquer the world as a region.

"We are part of the ASEAN, in fact the Philippines is part of the original five. ASEAN is not them its 'we'. ASEAN countries cannot afford to quarrel with each other, " said Habito.

The Export Development Council (EDC) maintains its eight percent to nine percent target for the year, as it banks on better performance of electronics and furniture in the next quarters, said EDC vice chair Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr.

Although it is more difficult to meet its target now as seen by the GDP (gross domestic product) growth slowdown first quarter,  the sector he said is holding on to its exports target this year, as it sees market now.

Decline in exports, along with weak public spending, was one of the root problems of the GDP growth slowdown in the first quarter.

ASEAN BERNARDO VILLEGAS CEBUANO ECONOMIST CIELITO HABITO EXPORT DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL HABITO MARKET QUOT SERGIO ORTIZ-LUIS UNITED STATES AND EUROPE VILLEGAS
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