CEBU

DTI awaits Senate approval of additional trade fair budget

FINANCIAL SUPPORT. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez says micro, small and medium entrepreneurs usually pay for their spaces at trade fairs, but if the agency’s additional budget request gets approved, they would be able to provide the spaces for free. (Sunstar File)

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is waiting for the Senate’s approval of an additional budget to send more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to local and international trade fairs.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said MSMEs usually pay for their spaces at trade fairs, but if the agency’s additional budget request will be approved, they would be able to provide the spaces for free.

“Market access is part of DTI’s 7Ms of Successful Entrepreneurship, and trade fairs give MSMEs access to a wider market for their products,” said Lopez.

DTI holds several regional and national trade fairs and heads the country’s participation in international trade fairs, like the China International Import Expo (CIIE).

This year, Philippine exhibitors booked around US$390 million from CIIE, and Lopez hopes that with more funds, more MSMEs can participate in CIIE and other trade fairs.

The trade chief, however, advised entrepreneurs to innovate continuously and work toward increasing their production capacity to meet future demand.

“Even if we’re able to open market access to other countries, if MSMEs don’t have enough products, they will still end up with nothing to sell,” said Lopez.

Support during local and international trade fairs has been a long-standing concern not only among MSMEs but also exporters.

Philexport Cebu said the Philippines has to be bolder in supporting and financing exporters especially during international trade fairs to be at par with exporters of other countries in Southeast Asia.

“We’d like to reiterate our plea to the government to help shoulder the cost of exporters when joining trade fairs. In this way, we can help them become competitive,” said Philexport executive director Fred Escalona.

“There are plenty of opportunities for the exporters to shine in the international trade show but we need financial support. We need to to have bigger booths to attract buyers,” he added.

For MSMEs looking for capital to increase production, Lopez recommended DTI’s Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) Program, a low-interest, no collateral business loan to combat “5-6” lenders.

Entrepreneurs can go to any DTI Negosyo Center to know the nearest P3 conduit micro-financial institutions or cooperatives and loan from P5,000 to P200,000.

Those who wish to borrow larger amounts can go directly to the DTI-Small Business Corp. (PR WITH KOC)


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