Sunday, April 15, 2007

"I am very much interested in starting an import-export business in the Philippines. Where can I get information about this?"

For all Fil Am would-be negosyantes out there, a wealth of information can be obtained from the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) website:

From there, you will find out that depending on the business structure, a business will register either with the DTI for single proprietorship or with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporation and partnerships ( The registration forms are downloadable in their respective websites.

I am also happy to share the following helpful info which I got straight from Nini Alvero, trade commissioner of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Silicon Valley.

1. What do US-based Filipino potential business owners have to do first?
As in any other business ventures, US-based potential business owners before embarking on a business have to do diligence work. They must determine the business they want to enter in based on their background, experience, interest and network. Next, they have to find out if market potential and business opportunities exist for such products or services in the Philippines by consulting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) website or its representative offices in San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Washington, DC, which are the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers.

2. Which businesses are doing well or which Philippine products are in demand for exporting nowadays?
DTI has identified the following 10 revenue streams which has the greatest potentials for growth in export and investments. These are: food; giftware and holiday decor; home furnishing; organic, herbal and natural products; wearables/fashion; construction materials, electronics; IT and IT-enabled services; marine products; motor vehicle.
Other areas of potential growth are logistics services; health and wellness; mining/mineral products.

3. Are US citizen-Pinoys allowed to start a business there, or do they need to get dual citizenship?
There are limitations in the ownership for certain businesses according to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991. For those who prefer to enter the retail business, which is the most common or usually the easiest business to run, Filipino-Americans are advised to acquire dual citizenship.

4. What are the common difficulties encountered by US-based Filipino business owners?
The most common difficulty is financing. US-based Filipino businesses do not have ready access to loans from the Philippine financial institutions. The next common problem is getting bad advice and falling into the hands of unscrupulous partners.

5. Any recent success stories?
Two examples of recent successes:
Mr. Ceasar Aguilar, President of Global Support Services, Inc. Mr. Aguilar is from Colton, CA who set up an engineering and architectural service company in the Philippines where his US company outsourced some of its requirements to the Philippine operation.
Ms. Arlette Adams, owner, Etteniotna Handicrafts collection is from the Bay Area who set up her business here but sources her products in the Philippines.

For more information, contact Nini Alvero at:
Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Silicon Valley
5201 Great America Parkway, Suite 356
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Tel: 415-773-2336 / 408-980-9637 5201
About the photo:
I found it from retailer giant Target's online catalog. This Philippine-made Capiz tray retails for $29.00. I've also found several Made in the Philippines products from other big US stores like Pottery Barn and Ralph's. It certainly is looking like it's boom time for Philippine-made products and services in the U.S.


Pierre said...

I would love to do business in the PI. Thanks for the information concerning this subject.

Yong B. Chavez said...

Hi, Pierre,
I'm glad you found the information helpful. Thanks for reading, and goodluck on your biz!