Exporters to press for government support
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — While Cebu exporters are convinced of a better industry performance in 2018, they however are still bent on pushing for government assistance for players to be able to take advantage of the recovering world market.

Philexport-Cebu managing director Frederico Escalona stressed the much needed support for exporters in terms of eased financial access as well as business friendly policies that could help boost the morale of the exporters, who have been in the doldrums for quite some time now.

“Government funding, subsidies during international trade fairs would be a big help for exporters to realize their targets,” stressed Escalona, adding that the financial access in particular has remained to be a burden among exporters.

Exporters in Cebu, he said have not seen any significant improvement in this area, amid pronouncements of the government to ease the credit access to MSMEs. Most of the export players in Cebu are small and medium enterprises, although they have good potential to re-connect with their clients abroad, most of them are constrained due to financial hard-ups.

Generally, however, the year 2018 is seen to bring in exciting opportunities in terms of expansion and growth, Escalona said.

Global recovery, he explained is already showing a good track record of recovery, although there are still challenges in the global economy as a whole. So far, the growth trajectory has been on track.

The year 2018, he added is perceived to be a lot better compared to the last two years.

Although some exporters will still be in the ‘recovery phase’ this year, Escalona said developments will be much faster.

The export sector in Cebu, he said is in fact generally bullish in 2018. A lot of them are preparing for a much better year.

Philexport president  Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., earlier made an appeal to the government to sustain its efforts on easing regulation and tightening market intelligence gathering in partnership with the private sector to caution downside risks to export growth.

The country's export leader emphasized that there is a need to maximize the exports potential of the country, especially in boosting its penetration in the ASEAN market.

Export stakeholders are developing the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) to raise the industry performance bar to $100 billion.

According to Ortiz-Luis, exporters are stepping up efforts to boost ties with ASEAN neighbors and partners and adopt measures towards product diversification to achieve the $100-billion revenues over the next six years.

With the help of the government to ease regulation and sharpen the market intelligence, export growth is seen to surpass targets.

East Asia and the European Union remained the top destinations of Philippine products, accounting for 62.3 percent of total export receipts.

East Asia includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan.

Ortiz-Luis said exporters also expect to sustain and strengthen the performance of mineral products, coconut oil, machinery and transport equipment, metal components, electronic products and chemicals.

Electronics remained as the country’s top export, comprising for 50.9 percent of the total export revenue in April 2017.

China is another powerhouse that the Cebu export sector is banking on, in order to achieve higher growth level this year.

This is the reason that Philexport-Cebu will actively participate on the upcoming China International Import Expo in Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai, China.

This five-day event is also seen to jumpstart Cebu exporters' entry to Chinese market.

Escalona expressed high optimism, as well as excitement kn this event, this is the first government initiated expo. It’s like China opening its doors to do more business among its neighbors,” said Escalona.

With the over a billion consumer base in China, and the bouncing back world market, the export sector in Cebu has more reasons to expect a bullish export performance this year. (FREEMAN)

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