Fur­ni­ture sec­tor eyes ASEAN mar­ket

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Business -

Lo­cal fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ers are con­tin­u­ously look­ing for new over­seas mar­kets, par­tic­u­larly South­east Asia, in an ef­fort to boost ex­port growth to about 10 per­cent this year.

Myrna Bi­tuin, PHILEXPORT trustee for the fur­ni­ture sec­tor, said coun­tries in the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) group are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing progress, aside from China.

“What a missed op­por­tu­nity. ASEAN coun­tries are so near us, the freight is cheaper. I’m look­ing at Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, and also Brunei (Darus­salam),” she said.

Bi­tuin said fur­ni­ture mak­ers are also look­ing at other new mar­kets, such as Asia and BRICS (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa) coun­tries.

She bared that in­dus­try play­ers from Cebu, Manila and Pam­panga will meet next month to map out an ex­port mar­ket­ing plan even as the lo­cal mar­ket re­mained ro­bust.

“It will re­ally be a mar­ket­ing ef­fort to look into the niche of the Philip­pine fur­ni­ture prod­ucts -whether it is in Europe, whether it is in the Mid­dle East, or whether it is the new mar­kets or ASEAN,” she said, not­ing the need to also con­tinue serv­ing the old mar­kets.

Bi­tuin said they will also seek gov­ern­ment sup­port in terms of mar­ket­ing.

“Let’s ask the DTI (De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try), their con­suls, we bring them to the in­dus­try,” she added.

Bi­tuin fur­ther said the sec­tor tar­gets to grow at least 10 per­cent this year, from $ 557 mil­lion in rev­enues gen­er­ated in Jan­uary to Novem­ber 2017.

“The in­dus­try has to find its own niche, you need to have the right prod­uct for the ex­port mar­ket. We have to co­op­er­ate with one an­other and re­ally come up with the plan to­gether with gov­ern­ment and PHILEXPORT,” she said.

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