Mindanao Exporter Congress set

TO UNITE all Mindanao exporters in one organization, Philippine Export-Davao will conduct the first Mindanao Exporter Congress from August 1-3, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center of the SM Lanang Premier in Davao City.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. 11-Davao president Ferdinand Marañon, speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Annex, said they hope to establish the Mindanao Confederation of Exporters with the event.

With the theme “Boosting Mindanao Export by Strengthening Supply Chain and Innovation Technology,” the event will provide a venue for exporters to strengthen the supply chain by addressing problems of the source of raw materials of products for exports especially in the agricultural sector.

Marañon said they will also discuss technologies and innovations in the emerging markets in export industry.

“It is important for exporters to unite because we all have common problems like in land and crops,” Marañon said.

Marañon cited cavendish banana because of its lowering supply in the market due to the typhoons that devastated most banana plantations in the region.

Marañon said they will be inviting about 400 to 500 participants for the exhibit of foods and technologies on how export industry will be improve in Mindanao.

Mindanao exporters will also have the opportunity to expand their market since foreign and local investor will be invited in the event.

He added that they may be inviting Manny Pangilinan since the president of MVP Group of Companies is interested to develop lands for agriculture in the three day convention.

As of now, the organization is targeting government and private sponsors for the P1.5 million needed to for the event and other advocacies.

Source: Capon, Cheneen. (2013 May 6). Mindanao Exporter Congress set. SunStar Davao. Retrieved from: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/business/2013/05/06/mindanao-exporter-congress-set-281088, on: May 9, 2013.

BOI approves 3 new export projects

MANILA, Philippines – The Board of Investments (BOI) has approved three export-oriented projects with investments worth a total of P599.46 million.

The BOI has approved the export projects of Mega Manila G.N.B Motors Corp., Daesang Ricor Corp., and Cloud 9 Global Sourcing Corp.

“These firms are projected to bring in a total of $160 million in five years and would generate 203 jobs,” it said.

Mega Manila’s project, which involves the production of copper ingots used for cables and plastic pellets used in plastic products, costs P22.2 million.

The plant, located in Naic in the province of Cavite, will have an annual capacity of 700 metric tons (MT) for copper ingots and 1,167 MT for plastic pellets.

The project started its commercial operations last month and will employ up to 48 personnel.

Daesang Ricor’s P567.3 million project located in Cagayan de Oro meanwhile, involves the production of glucose syrup for export.

The project would have an annual capacity of 66,000 tons and at least 70 percent of the plant’s output would be exported to South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand.

Commercial operations of the project are expected to be in full swing by August and 55 jobs would be created.

As for Cloud 9 Global Sourcing, its project which involves P9.96 million worth of investments would manufacture apparel for men, women and children.

The plant which started operations last month, would produce 586,872  clothing pieces per year to be shipped to South America.

It is expected employ up to 100 personnel for the plant’s full operation.

The three projects are seen to help increase the share of the country’s homegrown products in the global market.

Under the Investment Priorities Plan, which serves as the government’s investment promotions blue print, export activities could quality for incentives.

The three firms could enjoy income tax holidays as well as other perks.

Source: Desiderio, Louella, D. (26 April 2013). BOI approves 3 new export projects. PhilSTAR.com. Retrieved on May 2, 2013, from: http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/04/26/934916/boi-approves-3-new-export-projects

Philippines, Netherlands to exchange info on valuations, illegal goods

THE PHILIPPINES has signed a customs agreement with the Netherlands, just a day after completing a similar deal with Russia.

  The Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement was signed yesterday at the Port of Manila, with the Philippines represented by Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon and Hans Van Bodegraven, director for tax and customs policy legislation, signing on behalf of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The deal will open up communication lines between the Customs agencies of the two countries, Mr. Biazon said in a statement yesterday.

Information and intelligence will be exchanged on such issues as the cross-border trafficking of illegal goods, ranging from drugs, hazardous substances, endangered species and other contraband commodities.

The two will also institute measures to determine the accurate valuation and assessment of duties and taxes on all goods shipped between the Philippines and the Netherlands.

On Wednesday, the country signed a Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement with Russia.

Earlier, Mr. Biazon said the Bureau of Customs (BoC) was eyeing more deals, particularly with Chile, Peru, Turkey, Iran and Italy.

There was no timeline for the agreements, though, since negotiations took time, he explained.

The deal with Russia was one of the fastest to be closed, however, taking only seven months for the two parties to agree on a framework for the customs agreement.

Last year, the Philippines signed a customs agreement with Mexico. It also has deals with the United States and the countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The BoC accounts contributes a fifth of government revenues through its collection of duties and taxes. As of February, it shored up P47.011 billion. It is tasked to collect a total of P340 billion this year.



Source: Jiao, Diane Claire, J. (25 April 2013). Philippines, Netherlands to exchange info on valuations, illegal goods. BusinessWorldOnline. Retrieved on April 29, 2013, from: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Philippines,-Netherlands-to-exchange-info-on-valuations,-illegal-goods&id=69301

Development of oil-palm industry eyed in three Davao Oriental towns

MATI CITY, Davao Oriental—At least 20,000 hectares of land in three typhoon-devastated towns in Davao Oriental province’s eastern coast were identified as potential areas for cultivating oil palm, it was learned recently.

The identification was made by a team of agronomists and agri-business specialists from the Indo Food Co. (Indo Food), part of Indonesia’s Salim Group of Companies. The specialists visited the province upon the invitation of Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, who is keen to tap huge investment opportunities that will fuel economic activity in the towns of Banganga, Cateel and Boston.

Agronomist and soil scientist Hisar Sihombing said the topography, climate and soil in 14,500 hectares of land in Banganga, 4,000 hectares of land in Cateel and 1,600 hectare of land in Boston are suitable for oil palm.

According to him, oil palm requires to be planted on a maximum elevation of 400 meters above sea level. He explains that the higher the elevation is, the thinner the soil becomes, thus halting the crop’s growth. Climate is also a favorable feature in these areas as there are less dry spells and more wet months.

With these favorable environmental conditions, Sihombing hopes that the development of the oil-palm industry in the province will push through.

Oil palm has an average gestation period of four years before farmers could start harvesting its fruits. Indo Food has suggested a scheme involving the company providing farmers with other cash crops while waiting for the oil palm to mature.

To fully and continuously benefit from the venture, Indo Food has also suggested the implementation of a staggered approach to planting, which means continuously harvest throughout the year, since planting is not done simultaneously. In terms of profit sharing, further negotiations are to be done should the investment push through.

While Davao Oriental is bent on exploring this opportunity offered by the Indonesian company, it intends to rely less on copra and make  this alternative agri-based industry  highly profitable for farmers and  boost the local economy.

Malanyaon is optimistic that embarking on planting oil palm will bring about economic progress, especially in the three towns. She is also looking to expand the industry to other towns in Davao Oriental, as well as to neighboring provinces.

Source: PNA (23 April 2013).Development of oil-palm industry eyed in three Davao Oriental towns.BusinessMirror.Retrieved on April 25, 2013, from: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri-commodities/12506-development-of-oil-palm-industry-eyed-in-three-davao-oriental-towns 

New markets for sugar, bananas lift agri exports

The National Economic and Development Authority expects new markets for sugar and bananas to sustain the growth of the country’s agro-based exports.

“In addition to South Korea and India, Indonesia and the Middle East were also identified as potential market for sugar,” Neda officer-in-charge and deputy director-general Emmanuel Esguerra said Monday.

He said Philippine International Trading Corp. and the Sugar Regulatory Administration identified these markets earlier and was coordinating with buyers in these countries for their specific requirements.

The United States, Russia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and India are among the major importers of raw or cane sugar, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics of the United Nations.

The Philippines is exporting an initial shipment of 3,000 metric tons of bananas to the US, the Bureau of Plant Industry said. FAO considered the US as one of the top 20 importers of bananas.

“This is also in line with US Department of Agriculture’s announcement that allows Philippine highland Cavendish bananas to be shipped to their country,” Esguerra said.

Neda cited the recent National Statistics Office report that exports of centrifugal and refined sugar and bananas grew 27,094.6 percent and 95.5 percent year-on-year in February 2013, respectively. This contributed to the 43.7- percent increase of total agro-based shipments in February this year to $343.9 million.

Esguerra stressed the need to expedite the implementation of necessary programs and policies to improve the competitiveness of Philippine exports and take advantage of increasing regional and global integration.

“No doubt the exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso, but this can be overcome by the positive impact resulting from better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business,” he said.

Source: Rada, Julito G. (23 April 2013). New markets for sugar, bananas lift agri exports. Manila Standard Today.com.  Retrieved on April 23, 2013, from: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/04/23/new-markets-for-sugar-bananas-lift-agri-exports/

Davao-Bitung RoRo service a boost to Davao traders

THE Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) in Davao region is getting ready for a Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) ferry service that will establish the interconnection between Davao City and Bitung, Indonesia for easier trade.

Philexport regional president Ferdinand Marañon, speaking in Wednesday’s Club 888 Forum at the Marco Polo Davao, said they are working double time to make the opening of Davao-Bitung Roro route possible at the middle of 2013.

Marañon said a Cebu-based shipping company, Super Shuttle Roro, has signified interest to put up a shipping vessel that will operate at least once a week.

“It (frequency) will increase depende sa market,” he said.

Once the Roro service pushes through, Marañon said it is a boon to Davao-based businessmen since the opening of this new route clearly promotes easier trade between the producers here and market in Indonesia.

It can be recalled that Research Education and Institutional Development (Reid) Foundation deputy team leader Marc Ayes said exporters from both countries can benefit from lower transportation cost of about five percent to 10 percent cheaper compared to regular shipment.

Exporters can also have faster shipping time and safer shipment of products.

The international port of Indonesia is situated in Bitung and is about 350 nautical miles away from Davao City.

Marañon said among the products which can be shipped out to Indonesia for trade are boxes, plastic bags, and other industrial-agricultural products.

“In the Philippines, Davao has the most number of foam factories. We have five here, one in Cebu, and three in Manila,” he said.

Ayes previously said they will coordinate with Nestle Philippines, whose cereal plant is located in Cagayan de Oro City, to also ship out products through this route.

Nestle has been exporting cereals to Indonesia but its products have to go through Manila and then
Singapore, according to him.

One-Stop shop

Marañon also announced the re-launching of One-Stop Export Documentation Center in time for the 1st General Membership Meeting at the Grand Regal Hotel.

He said the center will be housed at the regional office of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at the Monteverde Avenue Corner Sales Sts., Davao City.

“We would like to strengthen this at the DTI,” he said of the one-stop shop.

He said there used to be a center of such kind previously but it was closed later on when it failed to get favorable attention from the exporters before.

“Hindi masyadong alam ng mga exporters… The Philexport will manage to service all our exporters,” he said.

Through the center, exporters can easily secure the documents necessary for export.

Marañon added the signing of memorandum of agreement (MOA) is slated on Friday with Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and other export-regulating bodies of the government.

“The government agencies agreed to put up a person to man their desk at the DTI,” he said. Philexport has close to 100 member-exporters out of 300 in Davao Region.



Source: Colina IV, Antonio, L. Davao-Bitung RoRo service a boost to Davao traders. Sunstar Davao. Retrieved on April 23, 2014  from: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/business/2013/04/18/davao-bitung-roro-service-boost-davao-traders-278144

Customs told to conduct study of ports accreditation scheme

The Department of Finance has instructed the Bureau of Customs to consult with stakeholders and conduct a study on the planned port accreditation of sensitive products, which is scheduled to be implemented next month.

DOF Department Order (DO) No. 17-2013 signed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima states that particular ports will be accredited for specific commodities, such as oil, steel, grains, tiles, gold, and vehicles, subject to standards, technical requirements, and applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

“The BOC shall immediately conduct a study, consult relevant stakeholders, and submit a report with recommendations to the DOF, accompanied by the appropriate draft administrative issuance to cover details of the implementation,” the DOF order said.

“This measure shall initially be implemented on the importation of oil beginning May 2013. This measure shall later on be expanded to include other sensitive commodities,” it added.

The DOF said that this move aims to protect revenue integrity, restrain smuggling, and ensure the attainment of collection targets.

The agency said that accredited ports will be asked to submit to the DOF their respective monthly trade statistical reports.

These reports will be cross-checked with data from the Department of Energy, Philippine Ports Authority, and other relevant agencies, on a per-volume and per-vessel basis, to eliminate discrepancies in import and consumption data.

The BOC will also require all importers of sensitive items to submit their annual rolling import plan, which will indicate the quantity, type, source, and location of intended port arrival.

“The Commissioner of Customs shall pre-authorize importation of sensitive commodities in accordance with the annual import plan,” the instruction said.

Source: (16 April 2013). Customs told to conduct study of ports accreditation scheme. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved on April 16, 2013, from: http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/business/business-news/28858-customs-told-to-conduct-study-of-ports-accreditation-scheme

Lawmaker: Abolition of BOC a foolish response to smuggling

A LAWMAKER said over the weekend the proposed abolition and privatization of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is a “foolish, knee-jerk response” to smuggling.

“It’s like saying we should abolish and privatize Congress or Malacañang for failing to stop corruption. In the first place, the smugglers are all from the private sector so it is like asking vampires to run the blood bank,” Party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna said.

“What should be done is to hold Customs officials, including their protectors in Congress and the Executive, accountable for the crime of smuggling,” the three-term Bayan Muna congressman said.

“The President should first make the political decision to stop smuggling even if it means tangling with his politician and businessmen friends, then appoint a no-nonsense official to do the job. Biazon’s resignation or the abolition of the agency would not be enough to curb smuggling because the protectors of smuggling remain unscathed,” Casiño said.

“The proposal is a non-solution and merely diverts attention from the real problem of smuggling,” he said.

Casiño earlier called for the termination of Biazon for failing to stop the rampant smuggling in the country.

He said the BOC is tasked not only to “enhance revenue collection” but to “effectively curb smuggling” and “to provide quality service to stakeholders with professionalism and integrity” based on the bureau’s Mission and Vision statement.

With its failure to curb smuggling in the country and its dismal collection of targeted taxes, the BOC had proposed for the agency’s abolition and its replacement with a professional institution run by private officials and employees.

The chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives said over the weekend that it is a good proposal which shall address the corruption problem at the BOC, but said it would need the nod of Congress.

Rep. Isidro Ungab of the Third District of Davao City said the role of Congress he supports is the anti-corruption campaign at the BOC and the modernization of the agency.

“I will support whatever organizational structure is best to create a culture of ‘straight path’ and modernization of the BOC,” Ungab said.

He said the government has to be realistic now with the advent of free trade and tariff incentives.

Source: Benaning, Marvyn, N. (14 April 2013). Lawmaker: Abolition of BOC a foolish response to smuggling. Business Mirror. Retrieved on April 16, 2013, from: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/economy/12075-lawmaker-abolition-of-boc-a-foolish-response-to-smuggling

Exporters push incentives for banks lending to MSMEs

Export stakeholders are pushing incentives that will encourage banks to lend more to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), a report of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) said.
PhilExport said giving   incentives to  banks to make them comply to the magna carta for MSMEs is one of the measures identified by the Export Development Council and its executive committee and other industry leaders during their recent meeting on how the government can help mitigate the impact of  peso appreciation on the export sector.

As a way of giving incentives to banks, the Small Business Corp. recommended to pursue an initiative of the Department Trade and Industry (DTI) on the creation of a Portfolio Guarantee Support Fund that will give rewards to banks who can develop new lending portfolios. Such rewards will also be  given to banks that can lend to the MSME sector in compliance to the Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta for MSMEs or Republic Act enacted in 1991 as RA 6977, amended by Republic Act 8289 in 1997, and further amended by RA 9501 in 2008,  mandates all lending institutions to set aside eight percent of their total loan portfolio for micro and small enterprises and two percent for medium firms.

Apart from this measure, the EDC and industry leaders also asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to provide a regulatory relief on the provisioning rates it required to government financial institutions (GFIs) and lenders.

They believed the suspension of some prudential measures like the loan loss provisions will allow the SMEs to use purchase orders (POs) from the country’s leading enterprises as collaterals to apply for loan with the GFIs and private banks.

Under the Big Brother-Small Brother program, leading companies known as “big brothers” are committed to allocate a portion of their purchases to SMEs.
Such is an industry chain program initiated by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) where a large enterprise adopts one or two SMEs from its pool of suppliers with an overall objective of improving their performance.

Likewise, exporters requested the allocation of part of the loan compliance penalty fund to be used for productivity enhancement program.

The Magna Carta stipulates that the BSP imposes penalties for banks not complying with its mandatory lending provisions for MSMEs.
Meanwhile, as a measure to minimize or avoid losses from a strong peso, exporters using the hedging facilities of certain banks also called for the lowering of their minimum threshold from $100,000 to $10,000.

The current criteria, they claim, is designed for big exporters since export shipments for hedging should be valued between $100,000 to $200,000.

Other measures recommended to help exporters cope with the peso appreciation include the creation of a dollar bourse, waiving of various fees charged as import/export fees and refraining from speculating on future currency movements.

Source: Velasco, Ed (15 April 2013). Exporters push incentives for banks lending to MSMEs. The Daily Tribune. Retrieved on April 15, 2013, from: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/business/item/12886-exporters-push-incentives-for-banks-lending-to-msmes

Dutch firm eyes coco-based export venture in PH

Netherlands-based Van der Knaap Group is exploring new opportunities in the Philippines, which the company plans to turn into a major exporter of coconut husk products to the United States, China and Japan.

In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) revealed the plan of Van der Knaap executives to come to the Philippines and help revive the country’s neglected coconut sector.

The DTI said Dinesh Fernando, managing director of Van der Knaap group subsidiary Euro Substrates Ltd., was in the Philippines recently to help set up the firm’s initial investment in the country—a $1.5-million processing facility in Mati, Mindanao.

“Fernando is arranging his next visit with Ron van der Knaap, CEO of the Van der Knaap Group of Companies to the Philippines,” the DTI said in the statement.

“Two months from now, they plan to explore business opportunities in Laguna and Quezon,” it added.

Apart from doing work in Mindanao, Fernando also went to Quezon to inspect Cocos Nucifera Pacific Enterprise (CNPE), a coco net weaving training and livelihood center in Gumaca, Quezon.

With the Van der Knaap Group’s initial visit in Quezon, new byproducts from coco peat were considered for the export market. Currently, raw coco peat is sold in the local market only as soil conditioner.

The Van der Knaap group is a provider of sustainable and high-quality products and services in the field of rooting and growing media for horticulture worldwide. Van der Knaap Group has more than 30 years of experience, with sales turnover of $50 million. It sells to more than 50 countries around the globe.

Coco peat—also known as coir dust, coir pith—or coir fibre pith, is made of coconut husks.

The DTI said these raw materials could and should be processed into coco peat products used for horticultural and agricultural applications. In processing it, coco peat is turned into a high-value planting medium by changing its properties.

Data from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) showed that the annual global production of coir was  350,000 metric tons (MT), with India and Sri Lanka contributing about 90 percent of the global supply.

The largest single importer is China, importing as much as 200,000 MT of coir fiber every year. Philippine exports of coir were placed an average of 1,123 MT, a mere 0.5 percent of the total demand.

Source: Montecillo, Paolo, G. (10 April 2013). Dutch firm eyes coco-based export venture in PH. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on April 10, 2013, from: http://business.inquirer.net/116117/dutch-firm-eyes-coco-based-export-venture-in-ph