GIFTS, décor and houseware (GDH) exports in 2018 grew 23.9% amid an overall decline across many exports, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said, adding that it hopes to focus on the sector to generate more growth.

In statement Wednesday, the DTI said GDH shipments totaled $206.34 million in 2018 from $166.54 million a year earlier.

“The continuous growth of the country’s GDH sector is largely boosted by the collaborative efforts of government and private sector stakeholders to further push the competitiveness of the industry through various initiatives such as industry policy interventions, product development, strengthening the supply chain, and promotion activities,” the DTI said.

The DTI said some of its ongoing initiatives including the relaunch of MA’I Lifestyle, the sector’s official brand, during the recently-concluded 69th Manila FAME, a lifestyle and design promotion event at the World Trade Center in Manila.

Conducted in cooperation with the Association of Negros Producers, Home Accents of the Philippines Inc., Mindanao Trade Exposition Foundation, Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Exporters and Artisans Inc., and the Philippine Lifestyle, Homestyle and Holiday Décor Association, the relaunch hopes to boost brand recall for MA’I Lifestyle and further promote the Philippines as a primary source of reliable GDH products.

Seminars will also be organized to help MA’I Lifestyle member companies comply with international buying standards. Selected MA’I products were also showcased at the Design Commune, one of Manila FAME’s special shows.

The DTI has been working on a road map of the GDH sector since July 2016 to come up with a unified brand for Philippine products, which will be used by the GDH sector’s website and catalogue. It will also help establish the industry’s identity when participating in international exhibitions.

MA’I was first unveiled to the public during the 66th Manila FAME in October 2016, following nationwide branding workshops and consultation sessions led by the Board of Investments (BoI) and the GDH sector’s business support organizations.

This year, the BoI will continue supporting the sector through partnerships with various agencies in identifying training opportunities that can further capacitate the industry. — Janina C. Lim