THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will explore trade opportunities in Turkey and South Africa this year.
During the chamber’s general membership meeting last Friday, CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan announced that the chamber will conduct trade missions to Turkey and South Africa on Oct. 15 and Nov. 7 this year to “pursue the chamber’s thrust of broadening partnerships and trade ties in the global landscape.”
Chan said continued exploration of trade opportunities in other countries is vital, especially for a city like Cebu whose economic growth story has recently made it to the radar of foreign investors.
“The good news is that while the Philippines is now closing in on China in gross domestic product growth, Cebu today is now doing much better with an average growth of nine percent in the last five years, 1.4 times faster than the whole country and the fastest among 17 regions,” she said.
“Cebu indeed is now emerging as a modern economy with its industry at 13.4 percent in the last five years consistent with the experience of Asia’s newly industrialized countries or cities (NICs) when they were still emerging,” she added.
Chan said more than just hosting foreign inbound trade missions, Cebu should continue embarking on trade mission overseas to reach out to other potential markets.
“We are also more aggressive now in promoting trade and investment to the global market,” she said.
She reported that for the past three quarters of this year, the chamber has welcomed several groups of business owners as well as ambassadors from Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa and Canada, and assisted in inviting a business delegation for a forum with the ambassador of Mexico.
Just recently, the chamber conducted a business forum and networking activities with Turkish and Singaporean business owners who visited Cebu to explore business possibilities. The meetings, Chan said, reaped potential ventures.
“For example, one Turkish businessman plans to put up a call center in Cebu, another one is looking for a factory site for expansion of his accessories business, and another one who manufactures anti–bacterial foot socks using bamboo was surprised to learn that bamboo is abundant in Cebu.”
Singaporeans, she added, “are more interested in joint ventures with local businessmen particularly in information and communications technology (ICT)-business process management, food, energy and manufacturing.”
Aside from boosting trade relationships with other business chambers in different countries, Chan also reported that the chamber is going to continue its advocacy on human resource development, emphasizing that the quality of skills is also one critical area investors look into when putting up or expanding businesses here.
“Because of our constantly changing global environment and challenges, our respective companies’ competitiveness now depends on our capacity to innovate and upgrade. To achieve this, we should shift more and more to acquisition of knowledge as well as development of highly skilled employees.”
CCCI, she said, recently conducted training programs for member-companies, including accounting for non–accountants, supervisory skills, human resource management and capacity-building for micro-entrepreneurs.
“I would like to assure you that we were able to uphold majority, if not all, of Cebu’s business interests and concerns through consultations, dialogues and lobbying with concerned institutions, government agencies and local governments for the development and enhancement of business,” said Chan.
CCCI also welcomed 33 new members last Friday. This was in addition to the more than 600 members as of July.