by Gliceria N. Cademia / Trade and Industry Development Specialist
Export Marketing Bureau - Services Division
Published in Business Mirror
15 August 2017
The Philippines is aggressively promoting services, such as information technology BPM (services/software development and business-process outsouring like contact centers, Health Information Management System (HIMS), game development and animation and other services, like franchising and education audio-visual among others.
Jocelyn Carrasco said that with the partnership with CIAP-POCB, a series of info sessions and focus group discussions for the construction services sector will be held. She said that service exporting entails establishing credibility and building confidence with prospective clients. The intervention of EMB as promotion and marketing agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) comprises conduct of OBMM, Inbound Business Matching Missions (IBMM) and other specialized missions being done on a much-focused approach. OBMM is conducted by promoting and bringing Filipino companies to meet overseas clients, while IBMM is the matching of prospective corporations/associations with firms visiting the country to meet with Philippine exporters.
Since services have no tariff, exporters should be aware on the nontariff barriers being imposed in countries of destination. The Philippines is currently engaged in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiation. For promotion, she recommended tapping the emerging markets, like Macau, Solomon Island, Palau and the Asean market, where Philippines has great potential in construction.
In IBMMs and OBMMs, the EMB partners with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PITC) and Philippine Embassy. Before an OBMM is done, EMB provides an information session, like negotiating skills, market entry strategies and tips in conducting business in the country where OBMM will be held. OBMM also offers business intelligence for better understanding of how the foreign buyer should be approached.
She said a strict itinerary should be followed by the participants and the DTI is requesting all OBMM participants to update them after the OBMM to monitor developments and sales generated from the mission. Terminologies should also be understood by participants. For example, in FTA negotiations, there are issues whether to use “area” or “territory”.
Loring said contractors should not only be concerned about their own strengths and weaknesses but their business competitors’ strengths and weaknesses as well. They must be able to identify best practices, know-how of strategizing, developing business intelligence and the exercise of due diligence before entering into any contract or business. She further emphasized that the EMB does not fund airfare and accommodation of participants; however assistance is given to business-to business (B2B) related activities.
Companies must be enrolled in Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (Ripples) as participants of OBMM. Ripples is EMB’s program that supports the information session and capacity building, marketing and promotion of the EMB business matching.
She talked about the process of identification of possible service providers, which include selecting the best Philippine companies that can be part of the mission and can be matched to overseas contractors. Since most the contractors participated have already experienced exporting abroad, they are considered market ready under the export pathways of Ripples.
The EMB will provide intervention through training and capacity-building, marketing and promotion, support for innovation, product development and design, and market access facilitation. The government is handling market access facilitation, hence agencies and companies should be mindful to provide inputs and cooperate with the issues and concerns they would want to be included during negotiations. One of the requirements of the DTI for companies to be part of the OBMM is the presence of official web site and e-mail. She hopes that with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) project for the Philippines to have a national broadband network, faster and reliable Internet connection will be in-place.
Since the preparation of the implementation of OBMM is six months, OBMM for construction sector may be considered for 2018. She emphasized the importance of attending delegation meetings to equip the participants on the details of the mission and their accompanying obligation.
Contractors were advised to have their profiles ready and updated for the business matching. The EMB has session on how to have an effective company profile and web-site optimization. She encouraged participants to avoid too much graphics in their website.
For the business matching, contractors need to inform EMB if they have identified companies they would like to talk to, so EMB can coordinate with the post or the embassy can also arrange it for them.
A one-on-one schedule is arranged with a dedicated schedule for each company. The DTI can also hire an interpreter for the delegation. Actual B2B meetings will be conducted and monitored. For some markets, like Japan, Japanese shows seriousness by bringing their operations head to the B2B. B2B can be conducted in the booth, hotel or separate venue depending on the schedule or where the company wants to meet their matches. As to revenue generation, there is longer gestation period for services hence the need for consistent exposure to establish presence in the market.
To be continued.