Business leaders in Davao City, the Philippines, are urging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to tap into the European fruit market ahead of the single ASEAN market in 2015, reports bworldonline.com.
The Davao City Chamber of Commerce (DCCC), which represents the business community on the island of Mindanao, is holding a series of export training programmes for small businesses later this month (June), designed to prepare SMEs for the challenges of the European market.
The Center for the Promotion of Imports - an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs - has partnered with the DCCC to provide overseas subsidies and training to would-be exporters from Mindanao, with the goal of bringing their products to the European market, the report said.
Raf Vlummens, DCCC chairman and a Belgian national, told the website that it was high time more of Davao's small and medium fruit grower-shippers exported to Europe (currently only 5 per cent of the region’s SMEs do), given the strong EU market for exotic fruits and the potential effect of the single South East Asian market on the region’s fruit trade.
"There is a need for international trade competence among our small and medium businesses, especially now that the ASEAN integration is near. They should invest in international trade training to ensure their sustainability,” Vlummens is quoted as saying.
"One of the biggest obstacles that prevent small and medium businesses from expanding their markets internationally is the lack of people with suitable international trade skills," Vlummens said.
The implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 will transform the 10-nation ASEAN bloc (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia) into a single market and production base.