Press Release
September 7, 2015


Senator Grace Poe said the coming ASEAN integration is an opportunity for the Philippines to become a regional leader in the knowledge economy through the printing industry.

Speaking before the 17th National Printers' Convention of the Printing Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PIAP), Poe underlined the important role of the printing industry in the knowledge economy, adding that the industry can take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by regional integration in December 2015.

"The ASEAN Economic Community means the breakdown of tariff barriers, capital restrictions and barriers to entry within the region. This means lower-priced imports - so you will be able to source your raw materials, like ink, paper, printing tools and equipment, at a lower price. This also means that you can start bidding for printing contracts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. You can also now enter into partnership agreements with your counterparts in Southeast Asia," Poe said.

The lawmaker noted that the regional market presents another opportunity for the Philippine printing industry. Southeast Asia, with its 600 million predominantly young population, is an immensely lucrative market for the book industry.

"Our country holds a competitive advantage in terms of our highly-skilled, hard-working and English-speaking population. Aside from our human capital, Philippine printing industry is also a very vibrant industry, with somewhere between 600 to 800 printing firms operating in the country right now. Small- and medium-scale printing enterprises can serve niche markets of published materials," Poe said, citing the example of Tagalog romance novels that are being exported to the Middle East, Europe and other countries with significant OFW populations.

But along with the opportunities, Poe said the Philippines must also prepare for the threat of regional competition and the entry of lower-priced imported goods.

"To be able to fully take advantage of this integration, we need to improve the quality of Philippine goods and services to compete with those of neighboring ASEAN states. The large number of players will bring about stiff competition, so we have to become more cost-efficient and more quality-conscious. We also need to plan and anticipate the demand of goods and services from non-ASEAN states and ASEAN states," Poe pointed out.

She stressed that the Philippine printing industry can be a winner in the coming regional integration. "The Philippine government, hand in hand with PIAP and other industry stakeholders, can promote our country as a viable publishing and printing destination in Asia. If we work together and play our cards rights, we can be the next printing and publishing center in Southeast Asia. Despite the threats, we will, in the end, benefit from the open and improved economic climate brought about by integration" Poe said.

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