Local firms gear up as impact of integration now apparent
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - January 5, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Contrary to the impression that some local firms are not taking the integration seriously until this day, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA-Cebu) past president Melanie Ng said a good number of local companies are actually geared up to capture a significant share of the region’s consumer base.

Virginia Foods Inc., International Pharmaceutical Inc., and other Cebuano owned companies have already set up presence or manufacturing plants in strategic locations in ASEAN, "more are working on ASEAN expansion."

"The Asean integration presents significant opportunities for VFI. We are banking on the 600 million consumers and the continued expansion of the middle class to penetrate the markets like Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia among others," said VFI president Felix Tiukinhoy.

In Cebu, Ng said more local companies have already experienced the effect of the integration, specifically the retail sector.

"Imported products are coming in. This is much more challenging but it makes the sector more dynamic and competition is always good for the customers," Ng said.

While the inflow of imported products, specifically from ASEAN is seen to grow more this year, Ng who is also the vice president for membership at the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said that local companies are also doing the same by putting their products on the other ASEAN countries' store shelves.

"It’s up for the local companies to grab the good opportunities within the region. It’s not easy, but we just have to do it because this is going to be the landscape of business," she said.

This year, according to Ng, more Cebuano companies may announce opening of their overseas branch, or partnership ventures with traders in other countries.

The year 2016, traders are seeing gradual transformation of business dynamics within the region as the policies being crafted will also be formally implemented this year, she added. (FREEMAN)

ASEAN CEBU CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY CEBUANO FELIX TIUKINHOY IN CEBU INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL INC MELANIE NG PHILIPPINE RETAILERS ASSOCIATION QUOT VIRGINIA FOODS INC
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