Exporters eye local, new overseas markets

Some exporters have been tapping the local market and penetrating more overseas markets to deal with the decline in sales for already a decade following the global financial crisis.

Dr. Romeo Balderrama, president of Philippine Homestyle and Holiday Decor Association Inc. (PhilHHDA), said earnings generated from trade shows, such as the Manila FAME, are “not enough” to maintain business operations.

Balderrama noted that some of their buyers also closed down sometime in 2008 and 2009.

“During those times, ang pumalit (what offset) is the resurgence of the local industry. Kasi madaming ginagawang condos so parang yun ang pumalit (There were many condominiums being built so these may somehow offset),” he said.

Balderrama said exhibiting particularly at the Manila FAME can enable them gain more local and foreign buyers.

He thus maintained an optimistic outlook about the business as local market remained “okay”.

Balderrama added the United States is still the biggest overseas market for holiday decor comprising 86 percent, while some European countries cornering the remaining 14 percent.

Eduardo Zuluaga, national president of Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines Inc. (CFIP), said it is difficult for industries to export local products, including furniture products and gifts and housewares, amid changes in market landscape.

“Ang problema lang margins mababa na masyado (the problem is, margins significantly declined and many in our industry, they look somewhere else. The local market is very strong so (just tap the) local (market) nalang,” he said.

Zuluaga said the local market is “strong” but it is also important for them to export as much as possible and to look for foreign buyers.

“So we need to look for new markets. Where are the new markets? The new market is in Asia. Of 7.4 billion people in the world, 5.4 billion of those people are Asian. Bakit ka nagtatyaga sa (why do you persevere in) America, Africa, sa (in) Europe samantala (while) 60 percent of population ng mundo nasa (of the world is in) Asia,” he added.

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