AEC presents immense business opportunities, says DTI-10 chief

Filipino entrepreneurs may now think outside the box as the market has expanded outside the country and reaching to member countries of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-10 Regional Director Linda O. Boniao shared this during the ASEAN multi-sectoral forum in Cagayan de Oro City last May 10 that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) need not worry if their business may not do so well in the country. She said “the market is so huge now with the presence of ASEAN economic community which allows free flow of goods and services in the ASEAN region,” adding “if it may not be a hit here, it may be a hit in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei or Cambodia.”


AEC integration means a market base of 600 million consumers that will support future growth.


Philippines is well-positioned in the ASEAN. One, ASEAN is the most dynamic sub-region in the most dynamic region (Asia) in the World; the Philippines is among the fastest growing countries in the ASEAN; Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam already account for more than 60% of ASEAN’s population; Philippines has the youngest workforce with 23.3 y.o. median age, second to Lao PDR with a consistent upward trajectory of PH in terms of score and global competitiveness ranking.


According to her, with AEC, the country’s businesses can invest in other ASEAN countries, attract investments from other ASEAN firms; or global firms that are targeting the ASEAN market, directly export to other ASEAN countries, indirectly export by being part of the regional value chain and tap the growing domestic market & leverage economies of scale to be more competitive in ASEAN.


In Northern Mindanao, identified priority sectors include coffee, cacao, rubber, support to tourism, coco coir, poultry, processed food, bamboo, abaca, ICT and seaweeds.


In fact, six of the top 10 exported commodities sustained positive growths from 2013 to 2015 and five out of the top 10 export commodities come from the coconut based sector. Meanwhile, top ten markets for Northern Mindanao are Japan, United States of America, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Australia, Spain, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and India.


However, Boniao admitted that there are challenges. In manufacturing, there are issues on capacity and supply chain and technology in production or product design and quality development. Logistics, on the other hand, has issues on transportation and infrastructure support, refrigerated storage and trade logistics, and shipping.


Meanwhile, in the accreditation, certification and licensing among the requirements of ASEAN is food safety and halal certification. In financing, concerns involve export procedure and documentation, cost of doing business and human capital poaching.


In the region, Boniao said that they have established 28 negosyo centers that would cater and assist aspiring and current MSMEs. All seminar and workshop assistance from these Negosyo Centers are for free.


Further, DTI also assists MSMEs in making business proposals to get financial loans from banks and financial institutions. They have the SB CORP – Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag Asenso (P3) and Mandatory Allocation of Credit Resources to MSMEs through Republic Act (RA) 9501.


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