Central Visayas needs to develop new export products
Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - May 29, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The export sector in Central Visayas needs to diversify amid its lackluster growth.

Department of Trade and Industry regional director Asteria Caberte said in an interview yesterday the region’s export industry has to boost its food processed exports.

She said electronics remain as the region’s top export, but she cited the need to further develop export goods.

The export business in Central Visayas, where Cebu is the key exporter, consists of various sectors namely electronics, industrial goods, furniture, seaweed, food, fashion accessories, gifts, toys and housewares, shellcraft, garments and medical tourism.

Caberte cited DTI’s priority sectors include wearables, housewares, coffee, cacao and processed fruits, among others.

For its part, the National Economic and Development Authority had been urging exporters to continue to diversify products and earnestly look for new markets to boost exports.

“To drive up exports, we are encouraging exporters to continue to diversify products to expand their markets,” Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had said.

According to DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau, non-electronic products such as cars, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, and footwear & wearables, among others, emerge as new export growth drivers.

In the first four months of 2019, Cebu exports amounted to US$66.099 million, down 24% from US$86.74 million in the same period in 2018.

For the month of April alone, Cebu exports went down 22.27% to US$16.16 million from US$20.79 million.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport)-Cebu executive director Fred Escalona earlier said prospects look dim this year.

Last year, the export sector was also down by 13.81% to US$246.62 million from US$286.12 million in 2018.

Escalona had noted demand from Cebu’s export markets has been slowing down.

“Our traditional markets and new emerging markets are both down in terms of demand,” he said. (FREEMAN) 

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