Furniture sector eyes ASEAN market
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.