The success of Japan's trading companies in stimulating exports has spawned imitators around the world. The United States Congress has been considering legislation for this purpose.
In the Philippines, the government has been encouraging 12 leading business groups to organize international trading networks. President Marcos invited the chief executives of the conglomerates to Malacanang Palace last autumn. He told them they had been selected to spearhead a new aggressive export drive. They would, he indicated, have full government support. They would also have obligations to enhance export efforts.
Each company was given a target of $200 million of exports per year by 1984. That would be the equivalent of 125 percent of the nation's total expected exports in 1980. These companies, according to one "guesstimate," now account for about 50 percent of Philippine exports. So such a goal is ambitious.
Industry Minister Roberto V. Ongpin figures these 12 so-called "apostles of export" will have 42 overseas trade offices by the end of this year and 150 within five years.
The government has also been pushing 150 of the nation's largest manufacturing companies to step up their exports. "In three years' time," Mr. Ongpin says, "we estimate that his program will yield $300 million to $500 million in additional exports."
The 12 "trading companies" are:
Ayala Corporation: Best known as the developer of the commercial and financial district of Makati in Metro Manila, the companies expects to trade in bananas, mangoes, shrimp, elastic fibers, footwear, tuna, coffee, garments, preserved vegetables, spices, mixed fruits, furniture, and cocoa. It produces none of these, being primarily a banking and real estate enterprise.
Allied Transnational Export Import Corporation: This is a newly organized trading arm of the Allied Bank. It plans nine offices overseas to deal in mineral fuels, oils, waxes, bituminous substances, fibers and fabrics, crocodile leather, reptile and goat skin, handicrafts, furniture, processed meats, beverages, beer, footwear, and textiles. Some of these are produced by affiliates.
First Philippine Holdings Corporation: It will trade in boilers, distribution transformers, electric motors and other electrical machinery, polybutylene pipes , and farm equipment and smaller items like apparel, handicrafts, footwear, toys , and travel bags.
Herdis Group Inc.: A widely diversified conglomerate, the group's product lines range from chrome concentrates, garments, and pineapple to bricks, prawns, and aluminum foil. It plans eight trade offices abroad.
Lepanto-Filsyn-Tondena: This combination of three companies, controlled by Carlos Palanca, will trade in main lines companies: drill bits, saws, blades, wood products, food, textiles, footwear, and stuffed dolls, and is considering offices in Peking and Taipei.
Marsteel Consolidated Inc.: The Marsteel group will sell such products as ferrous and nonferrous castings, forgings, fabrication, construction, cranes, and electronic devices.
Rustan Commercial Corporation: Operator of the largest chain of department stores in Metro Manila, the company will trade in items found on its store shelves, such as garments, handicrafts, furniture, cosmetics, footwear, ceramics , and so on. It aims to locate offices in 11 countries.
San Miguel Corporation: The nation's largest brewer and a major food enterprise, it plans to trade in beer, dairy products, kraft board boxes, poultry, copper wire, and cable through 11 offices.
Silcor International: This trading arm of the Silverio group of 11 companies will push its own products, such as ceramic products, semiconductor devices, utility vehicles and parts, and electrical appliances.
Ultra International Trading Corporation: It will represent the giant Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines, owned by Rodolfo Cuenca. It will trade machinery of all kinds through 22 offices abroad.
United Coconut Planters Bank: This group will deal in coconut products. Also it will sell other foods products, handicrafts, cement, aluminum products, and many others.
Universal Robina: John Gokongwei's URC-CFG group will sell some of its own products, such as coffee, snacks, ice cream, flour, yarn and knitted fabrics, garments, semiconductors, and later glass.