15 exporters in PH qualify for 5-year coaching program

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Monday, December 16, 2013


FIFTEEN export companies in the country have qualified for the five-year Export Coaching Program (ECP) initiated by the Dutch Government, an official of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) Cebu said yesterday.

Of the 13 companies audited in the food ingredients sector, only eight companies qualified for ECP, mostly from Cebu and Mindanao.

Only seven companies in the metal working and engineering sector made it to the program out of the15 companies that were audited. None of these, however, are from Cebu.

Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona said in an interview yesterday that companies selected for the program will be given assistance by the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) in terms of capacity building, improving export product quality, adherence to corporate social responsibility and most importantly in penetrating the European market.

Sectors

CBI is allotting P150 million to fund the ECP in the engineering/metals and food ingredients sector.

CBI has identified four key sectors for ECP namely home decorations, tourism, food ingredients and metal works/engineering. The Philippines only got the technical assistance for two sectors while the rest were awarded to countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.

Escalona said the Philippines lost tourism to Indonesia and Vietnam because it failed to provide regional data for value analysis.

He said companies not strong enough to penetrate the European market but have passed the CBI audit will be tested in the regional market through trade shows in Asia and will be given 100 percent subsidy on the first year.

But, according to Escalona, one of the benefits of the program is that companies will be given market access to Europe, which is known for its stringent market-entry policies.

“Europe is a big market and once you successfully penetrate this market you are looking at a huge customer base,” said Escalona. He said Europe’s economy has been showing good signs of economic recovery.

Among other benefits of companies in ECP include improving export marketing plan, business matching and trade partnerships.

Double sales

Graduates of the program will also be recognized as CBI-accredited exporters.

The ECP will run until 2016.

“We expect companies to double their sales after graduating from the program, on top of market access and business linkage,” he said.

Companies that didn’t pass the audit will still be given technical assistance by the Philexport Cebu, CBI and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), said Escalona.

“We will help them achieve the minimum standards of CBI so they can also avail themselves of the benefits of the program, such as subsidies for trade shows,” he said.

Escalona said Philexport is constantly on the lookout for international technical assistance to improve competitiveness of export players in the global market.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 17, 2013.

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