By JADE LOPEZ
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is urging exporters here to capitalize on the P1-billion export fund of the government catering to development programs that will help cushion them from the United States-centered financial crisis.
DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said exporters can help maximize the fund through developmental projects apart from utilizing it by participating in international trade fairs.
Caberte, in an interview recently, noted majority of the proposals submitted by export organizations under Philexport-Cebu are mainly on trade show participation.
“Trade shows are still necessary to sustain the industry’s presence in the global market. Still the P1-billion export fund can be used in projects that will ready exporters for the economic rebound rather than simply market promotions,” she said.
Development projects may include market diversification, designer development program, and new product positioning, among others.
Caberte cited the materials manipulation program of the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) as an example of a program that other exporters can model on.
Caberte mentioned major export groups here have already benefited from the P280-million export promotion fund of the Export Development Council (EDC), where P100 million of the amount came from DTI.
She narrowed down that P5.6 million is allocated to CFIF, where P2.8 million has already been allotted for the release of the group’s design development program.
In addition, the Cebu-Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters has received P3.8-million for its participation in Asia’s Fashion and Jewelry Fair. The Cebu-Gifts, Toys and Houseware has also taken advantage of P1.7-million, from a total allocation of P3.4 million, for its participation in the Index Dubai fair.
In a related interview, Trade Secretary Peter Favila said the P1-billion export fund, which will be taken from the Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP), is still pending for release. He added, though that President Arroyo has been informed of the proposal.
Favila said the proposal from various export groups has reached P1.7-billion. “Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya will have to decide on the final amount,” he said.
Favila, likewise, urged exporters to tap on emerging Asian markets like Laos, Cambodia Myanmar and Vietnam, where they can be able to save on shipment costs, among others.