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The past few years, the DTI-EMB spearheaded outbound trade missions to its major market Japan. Last year it also led a mission that visited the cities of Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York in the United States.

This year the DTI-EMB has expanded its sight to lead outbound business missions (OBMs) to Europe; North America to include Canada in the US OBM; and its Asean neighbors Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Later this year it will again spearhead a business mission to Japan. ?Activities, scheduled during OBMs include business-matching activities, such as business-to-business meetings, store checks and information sessions.

EMB Assistant Director Agnes Legazpi stressed the importance of joining outbound missions. She said, ?We really want to position our products to what the market needs. The last outbound mission to the United States has been an eye-opening experience to us. It has provided us with insights about the US market and the challenge on how we can mainstream our products like what our Asean neighbors have achieved.?

The DTI-EMB?s most important OBM, to date under the administration of President Aquino, took place in Switzerland where ?Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal signed the Philippines-European Free Trade Association (Efta) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on April 28.

The Efta is composed of four countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The OBM to Switzerland on April 26-28 also coincided with the second Philippines-Switzerland Joint Economic Commission meeting. Participants to the Swiss OBM represented the food, garments and forensic-supply sectors. The OBM to the US and Canada will take place on ?May 15-28, 2016. ?The delegation will cover the East Coast in the US and also participate in a business-matching event called Centrallia to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Centrallia in Canada is an event where around 700 participants from Canada and around the world are expected to take part in what is dubbed as the ?speed dating for small and medium sized businesses.? This event is a way for the Philippine delegation to tap opportunities for the international market through business matching and networking.

Participants will come from various sectors including food, personal care, health and wellness products, as well as construction materials. Other government promotion agencies, like the Philippine Retirement Authority, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Tourism Promotions Board and Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority, will join the DTI-EMB in Centrallia.

On ?May 24-June 1, 2016, the DTI-EMB is set to lead a business delegation to Thailand and Myanmar. The OBM to the two countries will be a significant avenue for Philippine participants to meet buyers, look into the possibility of joint-venture projects, and strengthen business tie-ups and network linkages.

The OBM will include Philippine participation and/or visit to THAIFEX?World Food Asia onMay 25-28, 2016 ?at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand. The participants have the option to join the OBM in Yangon, Myanmar on ?May 28-June 1, 2016.

A total of 21 companies mostly involved in food manufacturing signified interest to join this trade mission. ?An innovation the DTI-EMB added to its trade missions this year is the exposure of Philippine educational institutions and the competitive edge Philippine schools and universities have over their counterparts in the Asean.

Last February 20-21, local universities including representatives from Enderun Colleges, WCC Aviation Co. Inc. and the Asian Institute of Aviation participated at the World Education Expo Festival 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. ?



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