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December 28, 2008

Philippine handicraft makers resort to home market as exports fall
Handicraft exporters in the Philippines are increasing their sales in the domestic market and tapping other potential foreign buyers to partly offset the impact of the global financial turmoil on their businesses, reported local daily the Manila Times.

Marlane Villa-Real, chairman and chief executive officer of Buena Mano Crafts, Inc., a manufacturer and exporter of handicraft, said that while export sales declined to stiff competition from China and other Asian countries three years ago, exporters have been participating more in domestic trade fairs.

Villa-Real disclosed that the local market now comprises around 20 percent of their total sales, while that of a furniture company is much higher at 40 percent.

"Over the years, we have found out what the Filipinos are looking for. We already produce for the domestic market and it is enough to cover our overhead cost. Thus, when we price our products for exports, we don’t have to add as much anymore," she said.

She pointed out that this brings down cost of exportable products, making Philippine goods become more competitive in the international market.

On the part of the consumers, she said, buying local products is one way of helping boost the country’s economic growth during these difficult times.

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