Barter trade activities between Labuan and Southern Philippines’ traders can be revived albeit with a more modern approach to overcome many of the obstacles they faced previously Such relationship can also be extended to traders from Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
LLPM has proposed and are now working on the details to make Labuan a preferred gateway for BIMP-EAGA traders. As a logistic hub, we plan to provide facilities for these traders to access the wider regional market under one roof. Likewise, traders from other regions will be able to meet their counterparts from BIMP-EAGA in one place – Labuan. When the facilities are completed, the traders will be able to participate actively in the following programs:-
- Set up showrooms and office in Labuan either individually or in groups and permanently display their products at the business centre. Meetings may be conducted with prospective buyers or sellers in person without having to travel afar;
- Store their products systematically in Labuan and replenish them accordingly to meet demands;
- Appoint a local agent to manage their outlet, assist in marketing activities and conduct financial transactions on their behalf. Proper accounting records will be maintained to ensure transparency and accountability;
- On returning home, the traders can start planning on product positioning, development and sourcing to meet overseas market demands; and
- Labuan can also assist in downstream activities such as bulk breaking, relabelling and repackaging to improve marketability.
By participating actively in the above programs, the traders would enjoy immediate and long term benefits including:-
- Increase possibility of receiving large orders (and prompt payment) for their products.
- Immediate delivery can be made to buyers as sufficient stock would have been made available in Labuan.
- With clearer picture on demands and needs of buyers, they would be able to assess and improve on their product quality, pricing, production, packaging, etc. They would be better able to ascertain which goods to be produced, improved and sell.
- Market for their products would multiply exponentially through contacts with Chinese and other traders as well as e-commerce trading. Cost of doing business would decline as they would be fewer travels, convergence of buyers in one-stop business centre, centralised inventory, expanded market, more systematic financial reporting, etc.
- Various problems they used to face would be addressed. These include the need to berth at anchorage at night, being short-changed and cheated by unscrupulous buyers, financial loss, loss of goods, and security issues.