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Participants were representatives of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and professors and students from University of Saint La Salle and College of Arts and Sciences of Asia and the Pacific  in Bacolod City.

Resource speakers were Rudolph Jay Velasco of the Market Innovation Division of the EMB; and Nicholas Johnson, president and CEO of Asia Etc., established in 1996.

Asia Etc. is a marketing company specializing in sourcing producers and manufacturers of food products in Asia, and introducing them to the US marketplace. The company sells to mainstream retail and food service, as well as to the ethnic food markets in the US.

Velasco discussed the Philippines-US bilateral trade relations, market opportunities and consumer trends, and the US Generalized Schemes of Preferences (GSP). The US GSP is a program that reduces or eliminates tariffs on 5,000 products from the Philippines.

Johnson focused on the export opportunities of food products and fast-moving consumer goods. He said the US currently consumes great volumes of coconut products from the Philippines.

A total of 14 companies participated in the one-on-one consultation with Johnson, which gave them specific advice on exporting to the US.

1. Suarez of Suarez Enterprise said, “The seminar can help SMEs market their products in the right direction.”

2. Monarca of Cooperative and Livelihood Development Office was “very satisfied with the topics,” while P. Perez of Yssa’s Crafts said, “I especially appreciated all the practical tips, which I will be able to put into practice.”

Gina A. Verdeflor, Market Officer, Market Innovation Division, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry

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