‘Orders are back,’ exporters say

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


THE umbrella organization of Cebu exporters is confident 2014 will be a positive year for the industry after economies of major markets showed signs of stability, an official said.

“The major export markets are already declaring the end of recession so we are confident that 2014 could be a positive year for Philippine exports,” Philexport executive director Fred Escalona said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Philexport is projecting a 10 percent growth in merchandise exports this year with the easing of economic problems in Europe and the United States.

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“Orders have come back. It is only electronics and shipbuilding that are bringing the export performance of the country down. But again, we are optimistic,” said Escalona.

Increase

In January, the country’s merchandise exports rose nine percent compared to the same period in 2012. Its value reached $4.382 billion from $4.011 billion, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA attributed the growth to the positive performance of electronic products, which posted double digit growth at the start of the year, and to the growth of six other commodity groups.

Revenues from outbound shipments of electronic products reached $1.793 billion in January up by 22 percent. Other manufactured goods logged export revenues amounting to $600.25 million this year, a 100 percent increase from the $300.92 million in 2013.

The PSA noted that Japan remained the country’s top market for exports, whose revenue reached $1.150 billion, up 50 percent from the $769.04 million in the previous year.

In Cebu, Escalona said food is one of the strongest export products with three big Cebu-based companies exporting processed food like dried mangoes globally. Improvement is also seen in the sectors of furniture, fashion accessories and home decors.

“Growth is mild but steady,” he said, referring to the increase of export volume in Cebu. Cebu exports grew by five percent in 2013.

“With the easing of the problems of major markets we expect to grow at least five percent this year, as first quarter volume showed signs of improvement,” said Escalona.

Shared services facility

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Asteria Caberte reinforced Escalona’s projection saying “orders are back,” especially for mass merchant products.

“Although not all export sectors are enjoying the same improvements, we are happy to report that orders are coming back,” said Caberte, in a separate interview.

She said the DTI has increased its allocation for its shared service facility (SSF) program for Central Visayas to P36 million from P29 million last year.

One of the beneficiaries is the Gift, Toys, and Houseware (GTH) sector.

According to Caberte, the common facility will offer a high-tech packaging facility for GTH exporters for them to improve on their product presentation. The SSF for GTH sector is expected to be operational by the second quarter of this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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