Home » Customs & Trade, Features » US market picking up, say PH holiday décor exporters

“Some buyers are coming back to the Philippines. Another good thing is that several US-based companies are already buying now for this year’s Christmas season. This is a good indicator that the US market is picking up.”

Romeo Balderrama Jr., president of Christmas Décor Producers and Exporters Association of the Philippines (CDPEAP), said that as part of the preparations, holiday décor exporters are diversifying their product lines to continue generating revenues even in the midst of a recession in Europe, one of their biggest markets.

”We are the most challenged industry in the export sector…It is difficult especially there is a pending recession in Europe,” he said.

Europe comprises about a third of the total Philippine holiday décor export revenues, while the United States remains the biggest market of these products, representing over 60%.

Balderrama, however, pointed out that their markets are also diminishing as the so-called baby boomers located all over the world no longer buy holiday decors.

”The baby boomers (generation) are already retired and are old. They are not buying anymore. And the younger generation does not buy Christmas décors,” he said.

To deal with these situations, Balderrama said they are expanding their product lines to include lifestyle products.

”(Our strategy) now is to diversify to lifestyle product manufacturing aside from holiday decors. So that we will not be left out,” he stressed.

Balderrama expressed optimism that this initiative can increase industry sales this year.

”Several companies may be (adversely) affected, but not all,” he said.


Metal and engineering sector

Meanwhile, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) belonging to the metal and engineering sector see a niche in the European market.  However, they need to strengthen their capacity to prepare themselves to export to the European Union’s very discriminating 27-member economies.

This was the key result of a survey conducted by the Centre for the Promotion (CBI) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs among more than 40 local companies during a series of meetings and consultations intended to determine their potential to enter the EU market.

The survey result was contained in the inception report on the value chain analysis of Philippine engineering products. The report indicated that while some local firms were already exporting to the EU, most found the trading bloc a difficult market to penetrate.

“We need to know the requirements of the market/buyer to be able to prepare ourselves and export,” they noted.

Metals and engineering companies pointed that three years is too short a time to improve their capacity due to the investment requirements. But they believed that the CBI can help in this effort.

The report identified various opportunities to boost exports of the Philippine metal sector to the EU market in the next five years. These are green technology (solar heater using tubes not solar panels), combining materials to come up with a new product and increase in subcontracting.

Exporters are advised to look at business-to-consumer transactions instead of just business-to-business by being innovative to add value to products and to link with investors’ group to help market their products.

”Reasonable quality with competitive pricing is becoming a trend,” the report noted.

Christmas Decorations by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot
Free images from www.freedigitalphotos.net

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