THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is putting together a trade mission that will seek to expand trading between Mindanao and Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, particularly in processed foods, garments and electronic items, chamber officials said.
PCCI president Miguel B. Varela said special economic zones in Manado are targets of the chamber, which sees roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ports as the link to them from Mindanao.
“The bilateral trade between Mindanao and Manado will grow faster when Bitung as an international port deletes certain products in its negative list,” said Varela in a statement.
“These deleted products (processed foods, garments and electronic items) are then treated as ASEAN-originated products exempted from customs duties and subjected to zero-tariffs,” he said.
The trade mission which the PCCI would send to Manado probably in October will include participants from business chambers of Davao, General Santos and Sarangani.
The Davao-General Santos-Bitung RoRo project is among the transportation initiatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council- Philippines and PCCI.
“There is market demand for Philippine products. Manufacturers in the special economic zones in Bitung and other Manado ports need our materials. Also, the retail markets in Manado demand Philippine consumer goods,” Varela said.
Some US$147.9 million worth of goods from the Philippines were imported to Bitung in 2010 while North Sulawesi exported US$6.84 million worth of goods to Mindanao in 2010, the PCCI said. These goods consisted mostly of desiccated coconut, crude palm oil, coconut charcoal, crude coco oil, copra, and frozen fish.
Photo from www.bimpeaganorthsulawesi.org