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Filipino exporters urged to explore $5.3T Latin-American markets

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By Alithea De Jesus

Given the big market potential of Latin America (LatAm), with over 600 million consumers and a $5.3-trillion economy. Filipino entrepreneurs are encouraged to look into this market and diversify their markets to increase exports given the economic slowdown brought by the pandemic.

In the recently concluded webinar about the Latin-American market, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada said,  “This area is roughly about the size or slightly smaller than our ASEAN consumer market. It’s a rapidly growing market and it has a very fast middle class. Obviously because especially at this time, we would like to really be able to diversify our export markets.”

Perlada said top export markets in North and South America are Mexico, comprising 60 percent of the country’s total exports to the area, followed by Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, and Paraguay.

He said electronics make up 66 percent of the country’s merchandise exports to LatAm while carrageenan is also a big item.

“So basically it’s electronics but there is a lot that we can do in terms of non-electronics exports to LatAm. What about the food? This is a sector that is a mutual interest to the two countries. Our number one food export to LatAm is desiccated coconut. Again, not surprising because actually the Philippines supplies roughly 80 percent of desiccated coconut to the rest of the world,” he said, also citing fresh and processed food including fish and lobsters.

Perlada said the Philippines also aims to pursue export opportunities in higher-value electronics products; motor vehicle parts; design-driven products such as homestyle, furniture, and holiday decor; fashion accessories and jewelry; personal care products; organic products; and wines and spirits.

“Especially during this time of the pandemic wherein  “good for me” products, products that promote well-being and boost the immune system, have really been experiencing very high demand,” Perlada added.

Perlada further said the country aims to promote service exports in tourism, education services, information technology-enabled services including business process outsourcing, and creative services.

“And of course franchising, I’m sure that there are a lot of Filipinos also in the LatAm countries so we do have these brands and of course we have a lot of opportunities for franchising,” he added.

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