DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 Apr) – A group of businessmen from the Philippines will do a business mission to Malaysia next month to firm up shipping of consumer goods between the two countries and lower the cost of commodities.
Romeo L. Castañaga, country head of the SME Development Working Group of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), said this will benefit Mindanao and Palawan being the primary focused areas in the economic sub-region.
“It will formalize the trading between two countries. In Palawan, they will have products, like consumer goods, which will not have to go through Manila,” he said during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” in Abreeza Mall.
He said that the seaport in Puerto Princesa, Palawan is the most strategic location and the closest to Malaysia’s seaport in Kudat, Sabah.
“Our port in Puerto Princesa is already an international port which can accept goods from international countries. The receiving end (Malaysia) should also be registered as an international port,” he said.
Castañaga, who is also the provincial director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Davao del Norte, said that they can start trading as soon as discussions with their Malaysian counterparts will be finalized.
If push comes to shove, he said that they will also have at least two products from Zamboanga province to be exported to Malaysia starting this year.
On Palawan’s end, Castañaga said that they have already put in place a Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, and Security (CIQS) office that will facilitate and monitor the products going to and from the Philippines.
“All products going to the Philippines will have to be checked by the [Bureau of Customs], even the businessmen will also undergo proper process through the [Bureau of Immigration] to ensure that rules on quarantine are followed, most especially the fisheries and agricultural products,” he said.
Trading is one of the 12 projects enrolled in the BIMP-EAGA in a bid to strengthen business opportunities for the two countries. Other projects are tourist resort development, fisheries, and agriculture, which will get a budget of P300 million.
Part of the project is the development of a cardava banana plantation in Palawan which will host some growers from Cotabato province in Mindanao.
Last year, the Malaysian Trade (MATRADE) in Manila registered a total of $5 billion worth of imported and exported goods between Malaysia and Philippines.
Exports from Malaysia to the Philippines remained to be higher at $3.4 billion, or 68 percent, while the former’s imports were valued at $1.6 billion.
Most of the traded goods were electronic products, construction and building materials, palm oil, mechanical equipment, appliance, metal, processed food and chemical products.