THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will study the expansion of exports to Africa, particularly Kenya and Egypt, which it views as having the potential to consume substantial quantities of Philippine goods.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the department could appoint a trade attaché to the continent next year.

Pinag-aaralan namin ‘yung Africa. Mukhang maraming market, maraming opportunity. (We’ve studied Africa. It looks like there are many markets, many opportunities),” he said.

Mr. Lopez said the trade attaché in the United Arab Emirates, whose brief currently covers the Middle East and Africa, had alerted him to the potential in African markets.

“She’s been saying there are these big African markets (with) very open market access, and they need products. And that prompted us to study further that market, (and decide on) which countries.”

The department is looking into exports of consumer products such as personal care goods, industrial products and foods such as processed meat, canned tuna, and coconut products.

But Mr. Lopez said the main hurdle for exports could be supply.

“But that’s a good problem — it will entice more planters, more producers… (we) create a demand,” he said.

The department will decide on which country will host the trade attaché next year.

Mr. Lopez said the DTI also plans to expand the country’s export presence in Europe, which only has two Philippine trade attachés.

Malaki market sa EU. (The market in the European Union is big). We can also study that. I think we’re opening a post at an EFTA (European Free Trade Association) country,” he said.

EFTA is a free trade area composed of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

The department is also opening a new attaché position in Hong Kong in January. — Jenina P. Ibañez