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NEWS UPDATES 7 September 2009

Philippine exporters return to Asian markets

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Exporters in the Philippines are shifting their focus to Asian markets as the US, Japan and Europe took a hit from the global financial crisis, the Manila Times quoted an official of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) as saying.

“With recession hitting three of our top markets—US, Japan and Europe—we shifted marketing promotions to fast-growing Asia, particularly India and China,” Aniano Bagabaldo, Philexport executive vice president told participants of the Federal Express (FedEx) Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge Conference and Competition.

Bagabaldo said exporters are tapping the opportunities opened by the Philippines’ free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea.

“We are particularly focused on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement [JPEPA] in starting to sell new products, particularly food that was opened in October 2008 when the treaty was ratified,” he said.

Bagabaldo said exporters also intend to venture into the Indian market, particularly for food, this year.

“We are strongly going back to Asia and the nearby regions as the main market for Philippine goods. Right now, about 70 percent of all our exports find their way to the rest of East Asia,” he said, adding that the neighboring Asian countries have become the Philippines’ major trading partners.

At end-June, export earnings from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia amounted to $6.2 billion.

“This trend will further intensify in the very near future. The garments quota system in the United States and Europe has ended, closing the regime of sure markets for garment manufactures. Trading-wise, the Philippines is back to where it belongs, the East,” Bagabaldo said.

He said that over 3,000 individual enterprises and small, medium and large exporters are fighting for survival.

“The general mood is to try to keep their noses above water and avoid getting drowned by the economic storm,” the Philexport official said.


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