Cebu exporters urged to tap Indian marketBy Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
Local exporters are being encouraged to position their products for new and developing markets like India.
Fred Escalona, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Cebu executive director, gave this advice yesterday amid a looming economic crisis threatening traditional markets in Europe and the US.
Escalona said that exporters of food, home décor, gift items, and furniture had a large market to tap in India, which has the second largest population in the world next to China.
“Currently our export value to India is very minimal, in fact negligible. We see this as a growing market with its middle class fast expanding,” said Escalona.
Exporters from Luzon, who attended the 1st India-ASEAN Business Fair and Conclave in March at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi India, saw the potential of the market.
“In food products, the delegates noted that ready-to-drink teas and juices are well preferred in India. Cebu has very good ready-to-drink food products already exported in other countries,” he said.
He also encouraged exporters to do more market studies for preferred flavors and tastes for food, kinds of home décor, and the colors and furniture customers would like.
“For furniture, I think our exporters could manufacture products according to the preferred price ranges of India because most of our exporters make high-end furniture. Perhaps they can make something for India,” he said.
Escalona sees a large potential for gift items in the India market because wedding ceremonies there are family milestones celebrated with much fanfare.
“Families really prepare and are willing to spend for the celebration. Guests are expected to give gifts. l. Their taste is more for colorful, opulent and ornate designs,” he said.
According to Escalona, India is like China which exporters cannot overlook because of its large population base and robust economic growth.
“We see a lot of potential for the market (India) and we will continue to encourage exporters to look at it as a new growth market for them while their major markets (Europe and USA) are still recovering,” he said.
He also said that despite the political tensions between the country and China, Philexport continues to encourage exporters to explore China through their partner Business One Global Trade Center (B1GTC).
“We are still completing the setup of the China Help Desk in our office. China is still a large market and we don’t see the current tension as something that we should worry about,” said Escalona.
Based on the latest data provided on InfrodriveIndia, as of 2007, imports from the Philippines amounted to $154.94 million which was a decrease of 14.74 percent compared to $186.43 million in 2006.
The Philippines share in imports to India accounted for only 0.10 percent of total imports that year.
India’s biggest source of imports is China with $15.6 billion in 2007 claiming a 9.6 percent share of their total imports.
This was followed by the United States of America with $9.2 billion and a 5.69 percent share and Switzerland with $7.9 billion and 4.92 percent share in 2007.