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Southern Pine Shines at Philippine Furniture Show 2023

April 06, 2023
Philippine Furniture Show 2023
SFPA Executive Director Eric Gee, center, talks Southern Pine and U.S. softwoods with Liza Araneta-Marcos, first lady of the Philippines, center, Pasay Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, left; and USDA-FAS Agricultural Counselor Morgan Haas.

The return of the Philippine International Furniture Show (PIFS) and Interior Design Manila Show, which was paused because of COVID-19, was primed for a strong return – and it didn’t disappoint. PIFS is the country’s ultimate design and lifestyle expo, which provides a networking hub for local and international furniture designers, manufacturers, and exporters to showcase their world-class craftsmanship.

Southern Forest Products Association Executive Director Eric Gee joined the American Softwoods team March 9-11 at the SMX Center in Manila, Philippines, to showcase the benefits of Southern Pine. The visit even provided Gee the opportunity to discuss how sustainably managed Southern Pine and U.S. softwoods can help mitigate climate change with Liza Araneta-Marcos, first lady of the Philippines, Pasay Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano; and USDA-FAS Agricultural Counselor Morgan Haas.

Softwoods in The Philippines

With thriving domestic and international markets, as well as a competitive and motivated labor force, the Philippine furniture industry is poised to be a global designed innovator and ideal hub for products made with sustainable materials, which includes Southern Pine. 

Elsewhere, Manila is experiencing a construction boom, as high-rise condominiums, hotels, resorts, office buildings, and high-end retail shopping malls dominate the city’s landscape and offer opportunities for the use of wood in the built space to provide a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Barriers to getting Southern Pine into the Philippine market primarily center around the shipping costs and delivery time.  However, America’s historical influence for more than a century makes doing business in the Philippines slightly easier compared to other southeast Asian countries.

It also helps that English units of measurement seem to be well-understood, which is an advantage over more metric-centered countries, especially when describing lumber sizes of nominal (2-inch) versus actual (1-1/2 -inch). 

Philippine Furniture Show 2023 Experience

Attendance at the Philippine Furniture Show 2023 was so strong and consistent that show organizers, expecting significant attendance, increased the show hours by an additional hour each day.

Unlike most trade events where show floor activity tails off as each day progresses, this was not the case at PIFS. Booths remained busy until the final hour of the last day. The first and second days were dominated by the business-to-business crowd, while the final day leaned more to consumers. 

With a nine-square-meter exhibit space, printed literature, and 1” and 2” wood samples to showcase American Softwoods, the three-day event provided adequate opportunities for quality conversations with curious attendees.

Inquiries about Southern Pine and American Softwoods were genuine. Surprisingly, the number of ancillary inquiries received, specifically those related to pallet material, pressure-treated, and lumber for construction, was positive and demonstrated Southern Pines’ versatility.  

PIFS delivered a variety of attendees that extended beyond furniture designers and manufactures to include architects, interior designers, construction/development industry, and logistic/supply professionals.

Sustainability seemed to be a common theme among these attendees, which offered the opportunity to discuss how renewable and sustainable America’s forests are. Attendees wanted to know how U.S. forests are managed, how the resource is grown and manufactured, and understand tree size.

While attendees were familiar with radiata pine from New Zealand, the wood samples at PIFS allowed attendees to see and feel the best qualities of Southern Pine – density, ease of pressure treatment, quality manufacturing, and the unique grain pattern. 

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