CFIP to partner with DOT in promoting exports

Philippine furniture makers are eyeing a partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in a bid to promote local products to more foreign buyers crucial in increasing export revenues.

Emmanuel P. Padiernos, vice president for market development of Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP), said most of their foreign buyers are potential tourists.

“DOT may extend some tourist assistance or reward hotel accommodation to some buyers. DOT and CFIP may have joint promo abroad,” he stressed.

Padiernos said the DOT may also require new hotels to use Philippine-made furniture and not imported ones.

He noted that these joint measures are expected to promote local furniture and could help improve their sales and increase the sectors share to total exports.

Woodcrafts and furniture ranked fifth in merchandise exports in June 2010 with receipts up by 4.8 percent to $88.63 million. However, its share to total export receipts was measly two percent.

“Electronics is still the biggest dollar earner. Revenues are going up, but our problem is marketing because we have three international shows in the country,” said Padiernos.    

He earlier lamented that competitors in the region like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore got subsidies from their governments when they promote their products abroad.

For her part, Rashmi Tolentino-Singh, vice president for industry relations of the CFIP, underscored the need for the government and the private sector to work together to promote Philippine goods.

“For exporters, we have to maintain our presence in the global market. We need government support for trade show participation otherwise, people will forget about us,” she said.