DTI chief eyes more funds for MSMEs in local, int`l trade fairs

Photo of Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry opening the Metro Fiesta Trade Fair (PIA)

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 6 (PIA)--Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is awaiting the Senate's approval of additional budget to send more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to local and international trade fairs.

In his welcome remarks at the Kalakal CALABARZON Trade Fair and the National Capital Region's Metro Fiesta Trade Fair on 5 December, Sec. Lopez shared that MSMEs usually pay for their spaces at trade fairs, but if the agency's additional budget request will be approved, they would be able to provide said spaces for free.

"Market access is part of DTI's 7Ms of Successful Entrepreneurship and trade fairs give MSMEs access to a wider market for their products. We hope that exposure in these five-day fairs will be the beginning of their entry to the mainstream and export markets," said Sec. Lopez.

DTI holds several regional and national trade fairs and heads the country's participation in international trade fairs, like the China International Import Expo (CIIE). This year, Philippine exhibitors booked around USD 390 million from CIIE, and Sec. Lopez hopes that with more funds, more MSMEs can participate in CIIE and other trade fairs.

The trade chief, however, advised entrepreneurs to innovate continuously and work toward increasing their production capacity to meet future demands.

"Even if we're able to open market access to other countries, if MSMEs don't have enough products, they will still end up with nothing to sell," said Sec. Lopez.

For MSMEs looking for capital to increase production, he recommended DTI's Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) Program, low-interest, no collateral business loan to combat "5-6" lenders. Entrepreneurs can go to any DTI Negosyo Center to know the nearest P3 conduit MFIs or cooperatives and loan amounts from PHP 5,000 to PHP 200,000. Those who wish to borrow larger amounts can go directly to the DTI-Small Business Corporation.

The Kalakal CALABARZON Trade Fair and Metro Fiesta will both run from December 4 to 8 at the Mega Trade Halls of SM Megamall. With 120 exhibitors from Metro Manila and 180 from Region 4A, shoppers can choose from a variety of products like processed food, wearables (footwear, bags, garments, and fashion accessories), and home and holiday decors.

Madame Honeylet Avanceña, a staunch supporter of MSME development and an entrepreneur herself, graced the opening of the trade expo. Also present were Senator Cynthia Villar, DTI Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, DTI Assistant Secretary Demphna Du-Naga, DTI Regional Directors Malou Toledo, and Marcelina Alcantara, and Senator Koko Pimentel's Chief of Staff Jeffrey Yu. (DTI)