MANILA (Mabuhay) — As the ASEAN single market nears, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is challenging the local manufacturing industry to produce high quality products for exports to make it really competitive on a regional scale.
The challenge is to improve the quality of products fit for exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), PCCI director Jose Alejandro said during the launch of the 40th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Global City, Taguig City.
“We are not aware that what’s acceptable to us is not acceptable to the foreign countries… Our quality standard locally is normally not equal to the export quality,” he said.
“This is a challenge to our local manufacturing, to improve research, check what matters outside, what can be competed, how we can improve our own… Let us improve our export products,” he added.
By 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) sets in motion the creation of a single market spanning the 10-nation bloc. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The PCCI, the biggest umbrella organization in the country, is advocating for small and medium enterprises to expand in the region by tapping ASEAN partners, director George Barcelon said in the same briefing.
“What we see here, with the implementing of AEC in 2015, is an era of more complementation, instead of competition. The opportunities are there for SMEs to venture into that market,” he noted.
“We have the track record in expanding our business… Like well-known brand Oishi… they have operations in Philippines, in China and also in other Southeast Asian neighbors,” Barcelon said.
Data from the ASEAN Secretariat show the region is home to 600 million people and churns out a combined gross domestic product of more than $1.13 trillion.
In order to maximize business opportunities in the regional integrated market, PCCI director Roberto Amores said local manufacturers need not focus solely on products made of indigenous materials.
“To expand horizon of business and opportunities in both domestic and export market, what we mean is quality made products in Filipino ingenuity and workmanship even with foreign ingredients utilized to make certain products,” he said.
Local consumers should also buy more Pinoy made products to help manufacturers be more competitive, PCCI president Alfredo Yao noted.
“Kailangan tulungan natin ang manufacturing natin dito, as government can do only so much. We as private citizens, kailangan na mahalin natin ang produkto natin, not only Filipino products but also Filipino-made products,” he said. (MNS)