Cebuano exporters are being urged to maximize the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement which mandates zero-percent tariffs by 2020.
In a briefing last Friday, Department of Trade of Industry Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (DTI-BETP) director Senen M. Perlada said the AANZFTA remains underutilized.
“Australia and New Zealand are very huge markets for many of our products and for us we see this as one of the most comprehensive and most well negotiated agreements we have existing. It’s such a waste of opportunity if we don’t maximize it.” said Perlada.
Perlada said that the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand complement each other in terms of products, which is the foundation for a healthy trading relationship.
Aside from the trading of goods the agreement also allows for the movement of people to and from the partner countries, which will benefit Filipinos who would like to seek opportunities in either Australia and New Zealand.
“These two countries have very healthy economies and were not affected by the recent crisis which makes them even more an attractive market for us including our high-end products.” said Perlada.
At present the per capita gross domestic product of Australia is at $41,300 while New Zealand is at $28,000.
“Our export value last year with Australia was at $348 million. Australia is our 19th export market and 17th largest trading partner.” said Perlada.
Perlada said that the Philippines had only had $45 million in exports to New Zealand last year which makes up for 0.09% of the total Philippine exports last year.
“There is a need to improve these figures especially that we know our products have huge market potential.” said Perlada.
Most of our exported goods to both countries include processed fruits, purees, car batteries, carageenan (seaweeds), dried fruits like pineapple, mango, banana and more.
“We will be promoting electronics, automotive parts, processed food products, marine products, furniture and houseware, fashion accessories, garments, gifts, decor and other more valued products,” said Perlada.
Perlada said that the exporters can better compete by checking out the standards required by these countries in terms of quality and safety.
“Our aspiration is that what’s good enough here should be good enough to the world, so we urge exporters to really follow the standards. That’s the key to being competitive now,” said Perlada.
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
CEBU DAILY NEWS
March 27, 2012