Home decor, furniture from Cebu to be showcased in Winter Olympics

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By Katlene O. Cacho

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

THE Philippine-Russian Business Assembly (PRBA) will be tapping Cebu-based home decor and furniture exporters to showcase their products in buildings that will be put up for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

PRBA president and honorary consul of Russia Armi Lopez-Garcia said they will collaborate with the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF), Cebu-Gift, Toys and House wares Inc. (GTH) and other export organizations so the country will have a representation during the Winter Olympics.

The 2014 Winter Olympics is scheduled from Feb. 7 to 23, 2014.Sochiwas selected as the host city in 2007, defeating the bids of Salzburg, Austria and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The preparation for the event will include building of new venues and modernization of telecommunications, power and transport infrastructure.Sochiwill also build a new Olympic park.

“This event is a good venue for Cebuano exporters to promote their products,” Garcia said.

Garcia noted it is not the entry points to Russia that prevented Filipino exporters from tapping the Russian market but the lack of information.

Stronger ties

Garcia said she wanted Russia and the Philippines, particularly Cebu, to build stronger economic ties as both countries can become good trading partners.

Last year, the Russian Chamber of Commerce approved the formation of Russian-Philippine Business Council (RPBC) to broaden opportunities between the two countries in trade and investment.

“We are not only seeing this ties strengthened in terms of tourism and culture but also in trade. In these times when economies of major markets of Europe and the United Statesare in slow growth,Russiais another new market that has high potential, particularly in boosting export revenues. We just have to increase our presence in Russia,” said Garcia.

Garcia said they invited representatives from RPBC to visit the forthcoming Manila Furnishings and Apparel Merchandise Exchange (FAME) 2012 this October.

“This will be the first time that our partners will come to see what the Philippines could offer,” she said.

Aside from furniture and home decors, which have huge potential inRussia, Garcia said they are also helping out banana exporters of Mindanao to enter the Russian market through the PRBA.

NEW MARKET: A worker harvests bananas at a plantation in Tagum, Davao del Norte. Honorory consul of Russia Armi Lopez-Garcia says they are helping out banana exporters of Mindanao to enter the Russian market.

Garcia said she was tapped by the Department of Trade and Industry- Bureau of Export and Trade Promotions (DTI-BETP) to assist and tap potential buyers from St. Petersburg and Moscow to buy Philippine bananas and other tropical fruits.

She said a trade mission to Vladivostok, Russia is being set so buyers could also meet and do business matching with banana growers of Mindanao.

Garcia said tapping the Russian market is a good alternative as the country tries to recover from China’s ban on Philippine bananas.

“The Russian market is a huge market for our fruits, particularly banana. Russians or Russian companies do not just merely buy, they partner with banana plantation to ensure steady supply,” she said.

Garcia said at least two representatives from three Banana Growers Cooperatives of Davao are expected to join in the trade mission this month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 13, 2012.