03 June 2019

By Philexport News and Features

Published also in Business Mirror

FRANCHISE owners are encouraged to expand in other Southeast Asian countries, as more Filipino brands are getting access to a larger share of the population of the region.

Eric Elnar, trade  service officer of the Foreign Trade Service Corps at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said they could use the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to penetrate the ASEAN region.

“We have an ASEAN free-trade agreement, so basically, it just says that franchising is one of the sectors that is being promoted in the ASEAN agreement. So it’s a good idea for franchise owners in the Philippines to look at expanding first in other Asean countries before you expand elsewhere,” he said.

Elnar pointed out that franchising is considered under distribution services, same with retail and wholesale services, stipulated in the packages of services commitments in ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).

To expand presence in the ASEAN region, he said Philippine players need to consider halal certification.

Elnar cited as examples Muslim-dominated countries—Malaysia and Indonesia, where they should be “conscious” about halal requirements.

“Part of it is food that Muslims can take, so definitely no pork and then no pork derivatives, and then there’s Halal meat, so there is a lot of technical stuff that you have to learn. But basically, if you are targeting a Muslim-dominated country, you have to look for halal if your product is mainly food,” he advised.

Elnar said they have to also intensify marketing strategies, know the industry, market readiness and market size.

“If you are already planning to enter one country, make sure to register in terms of your brand first, make sure that there is no other brand that are registered, that are similar or the same as yours in that country,” he added.

ASEAN groups include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.