TWENTY-THREE local companies are currently showcasing Philippine food products under FoodPhilippines in the 23rd edition of Gulfood or the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire at Sheikh Rashid Hall in the Dubai World Trade Center, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The fair began on February 18 and runs until February 21.

Known as the world’s biggest food and hospitality trade event, Gulfood is a one-stop platform for the latest tastes, trends and innovation in the international food industry. In 2017, the four-day event was participated in by  around 5,000 companies and attended by 97,000 trade buyers all over the world.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), the Philippine delegation has on display the country’s top halal-certified, healthy and organic products, including fruits and vegetables, seafood and marine products, ethnic and gourmet selections  and other functional food and beverage products.

“We have carefully primed a roster of 23 top exporting companies in a grand showcase of the Philippines’s best product selections in the world’s biggest trade platform for food and ingredients,” DTI-Citem Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Mediran said.

Joining the delegation are Asia Brewery Inc., Brandexports Philippines Inc., Celebes Coconut Corp., Century Pacific Food Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Magic Melt Foods Inc., Mama Sita’s (Sandpiper Spices and Condiments Corp.), Marikina Food Corp., Market Reach International Resources, Mega Global Corp. and Miesto International Foods Corp.

Also exhibiting in the FoodPhilippines pavilion are Millennium Specialty Coco Products Inc., Philippine Grocers Food Exports Inc., Pixcel Transglobal Foods Inc., Profood International Corp., Q-Phil Products International, Roxas Sigma Agriventures Inc., Sagrex Foods Inc., San Miguel Purefoods Inc., Seatrade Canning Corp., SL Agritech Corp. and Super Q.

“Backed with these firms, we are confident this country participation will hit our sales target and significantly boost the government’s high-impact export strategy to generate more buyer interest for halal Philippine products in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] region,” Mediran saud.

GCC refers to the political, social and economic alliance of six countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The Muslim-dominated region sits at the heart of the global halal-food market.

Saudi Arabia remains the largest food-consuming GCC nation due to its large population base. The fastest growth rate for food consumption, however, is seen in Qatar and the UAE with an annual growth of about 5.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.  The UAE alone has a market outreach to about 1.5 billion people living in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and other Asian regions, making it the world’s top 3 reexport center.

In its upcoming participation, the DTI-Citem is looking to rake in at least $110-million export deals as the Philippines seeks to increase its 5-percent share of the international halal market, complementing the overall government’s effort to empower its halal‐certified local entrepreneurs and set up 10 halal-accreditation centers in 2018.

The DTI seeks to increase the country’s exports of halal products to $1.4 billion by next year from its current average of about $800 million annually. In the World Halal Assembly held last January, the DTI forecasted the global halal market might reach a total of $10 trillion by 2030, from its current valuation of $3.2 million.

Organized by Citem, the participation of FoodPhilippines in Gulfood 2018 was in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Dubai. It is among the DTI’s major efforts to intensify the promotion of Philippine specialty food products in overseas trade shows.

Citem is committed to developing, nurturing and promoting globally competitive small and medium enterprises, exporters, designers and manufacturers by implementing an Integrated Approach to Export Marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.

21 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

IF you do import and export trade transactions or the planning to trade goods, it’s a must to master International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) used in shipping goods on land, air and sea).

While the revised set of rules on Incoterms in all international trade transactions took effect globally seven years ago, many exporters and importers, traders, bankers, insurers, freight forwarders, carriers and the people handling such transactions, namely business owners, treasurers, CFOs, procurement officers, trade negotiators and many lawyers are still unaware of these changes.  They make mistakes in the use of these trade terminologies that jeopardize their businesses.  It has cost them loss of business opportunities, delays in deliveries and receipt of products and additional legal costs to solve their problems.

Understanding these revised rules and incorporating their use in sales contracts will eliminate the uncertainties, errors and costly mistakes in the interpretations created in trade transactions.  These new rules have tremendous impact on trade documentation and critical implications for their businesses, especially in the carriage of goods between seller and buyer, export and import clearance requirements, allocation of costs between seller and buyer, acquisition of cargo insurance, and assumption of risks for loss and damage.

To educate the business community and the general public, the International Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Center for Global Best Practices, will hold its special yearly seminar on the topic, entitled “Incoterms: Revised International Rules in the Interpretation of Trade Terms,” on Friday, March 9, at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

This revised set of Incoterms is a more concise version of the previous one and more relevant to business transactions and cargo-security issues, which are now at the forefront of the transportation agenda of all countries and governments.  For details and all other seminars, including other international trade-training seminars,  such as Business’ Guide on How to Import Goods to the Philippines, Mastering the Use of Letters of Credit, Standby LCs, UCP 600 and ISBP 2013, Model Templates in International Sales Contracts, check or call Manila lines at (02) 842-7148/59; 556-8968/69; Cebu lines at (032) 512-3106 to 07.

This special program will feature Singapore-based expert Victor Tan, an authority in the field of trading and banking, with 15 years of banking experience covering areas of international trade finance, remittances, guarantees, import and export. He has worked with various International banks since 1977, starting with Standard Chartered Bank, Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank, Bangkok Bank, Royal Trust Merchant Bank and Barclays Bank, where he was deputy head, trade finance. He is the accredited trainer of the International Chamber of Commerce in Southeast Asia.

Since 1992 Tan has been conducting highly specialized training in Jakarta, Bangkok and Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, where he recently conducted this program at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the American Embassy.  He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom and is a qualified life  associate member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, London.  He will teach everything one has to know on how to apply Incoterms for business advantage.

Those into trading, import and export, sales, insurance, logistics, treasury and finance, audit, and entrepreneurs who has a need for movements of goods locally and internationally would benefit greatly from this event.  Those registering 3 or more may avail themselves of the group discount. Interested participants may also avail of the early-payment savings.  This seminar will include the seminar kit, snacks, lunch buffet and certificate of attendance.  This is a limited-seats-only event. Pre-registration is required.

By Gil Ragil / Emerging Products Division / DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

07 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

RIPPLES Plus-enrolled companies with organic-certified products recognized by the European Union are set to participate in Biofach 2018, touted to be the world’s leading trade fair for organic food slated to be held from February 14 to 17 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Ripples Plus, or the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters Plus, is a program that prepares participating Philippine companies, most of whom are small and medium enterprises, to make them export-ready, and to enhance their export capacity and competitiveness. After attaining both, the program seeks to match them with prospective foreign buyers and vigorously pursues the promotion of their products in the global market.

The Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with Alegria C. Donado, assistant chief of its Emerging Products Division, as head of mission, has organized and is set to conduct and manage an Outbound Business Matching Mission composed of Philippine companies manufacturing and producing natural and organic products.

The products are as diverse as coco water/juice/milk, virgin coconut oil, instant powdered beverages, botanicals, candies, cosmetics, seasonings and raw brown sugar (muscovado).

Participating Philippine companies include Ahya Coco Organice Food Manufacturing Corp., Herbanext Laboratories Inc.,  Healthy Sweets Mindanao Corp., Japan Philippines Malunggay Eco Farm Inc.,  Pasciolco Agri Ventures, Raw Brown Sugar Milling Co. Inc., Team Asia Corp., Tropicana Food Products Inc., Tree Life Coco Sugar and Wellness International Corp.

This will be the very first time that Philippine companies will be exhibiting at Biofach since it started in 1990.

As posted in the official Biofach 2018 web site, Organic is more than a label or certification: Organic stands for quality and conviction—for the responsible use of nature’s resources.  Biofach in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg is the place where people share their passionate interest in organic food, get to know each other and exchange views, and this, since 1990. To date, 2,950 exhibitors and more than 50,000 visitors [including Vivaness] from the national and international organic sector are expected at Biofach 2018.  The perfect opportunity for visiting professionals to meet organic producers from the organic market and be inspired by the sector’s latest trends.

Opinions on Biofach were elicited from notable persons, including Dr. Felix Prinz zu Lowestein, chairman of the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BOLW); Markus Arbenz, managing director of Biofach’s international patron, Ifoam—Organics International; and Petra Wolf, member of NÜrnbergMesse’s management board.

Lowenstein said, “The exhibition center became a lively international marketplace dominated by impressed exhibitors and visitors in aisles of Biofach. The fact that this trade fair is attended by a number of top political, administrative and diplomatic corps representatives means it has become one of the main places for debates concerning the future of food  and organic farming industries. With Germany appearing as the country of the year, the German organic enterprises at the exhibition were able to highlight their abilities in the areas of innovation and sustainability in a special way.”

Arbenz, meanwhile, stated that, “It’s been a record year for the organic sector and a record year for Biofach. The trade fair reflects the great mood in the industry excellently.  It is where attention is drawn to the topics that affect the professionals in production, trade, services and politics and that people have to be aware of if they want to be successful with organic products.  For both Germany and the rest of the world, organic farming is a tool that can be used to achieve the United Nation’s global Sustainable Development Goals, which are officially supported by most countries.”

Wolf said, “After four successful days at the exhibitions, we and the organic industry are pleased that there was a great atmosphere in the halls and that those who came were able to meet high-quality contacts.  As well as by the country of the year, Germany, plenty of inspiration was provided by the Stadtlandbio [city country organic] congress and the varied programs entitled Nuremberg the Organic City.  We’re already looking forward to the next edition for the exhibition duo and seeing in all the market players for Biofach and Vivaness 2018.”

How was it a year ago? The exhibition duo consisting of Biofach, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, and Vivaness, the international trade fair for natural personal care, set a  new record in 2017 by welcoming a total of 51,453 trade visitors.  People traveled to Nuremberg for the industry get-togethers from 134 countries, and were impressed with the range of products offered by the 2,793 exhibitors (258 of these were at Vivaness) from 88 countries and allowed themselves to be inspired by the country of the year, Germany.  The organic industry as a whole continued to progress, too: In 2016 German households spent 9.9 percent more on organic food and drink than in the year before with sales amounting to €9.48 billion, according to the German Federation of Organic Food Industry.  More and more clients are opting for natural cosmetics, as well.  The results of a joint survey conducted by naturkosmetick konzepte, the Society for Consumer Research (Gfk), IRI, IMSHealth and BioVista, showed that the German natural-cosmetics market has a market share of 8.5 percent and is worth €1.15 billion, meaning it is the strongest natural-cosmetics market in Europe.

The exhibitors at the world’s leading trade fair for organic food were extremely satisfied at the end of the event.  According to a survey carried out by an independent institute, 89 percent of the exhibitors at Biofach said the exhibition had been a success overall.  About 93 percent praised the quality of the visitors at their stands and were able to reach their target groups, while conversations at the stands also led to the initiation of new business relationships for 93 percent.

In addition, 85 percent expected post-exhibition business as a result of contacts acquired over the four days. Following the positive response to their products, 88 percent of the Biofach exhibitors intend to take part again in the future.  As regards the visitors, 97 percent were happy with the range of products available and 94 percent plan to come again.

The 2017 Biofach and Vivaness congresses drew great interest from all the market players, too. The industry and knowledge forums, which included over 120 different events altogether, were attended by a total of 8,125.  The most popular event relating to Germany as the country of the year was the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (BMEL) presentation on its strategy for the future in organic farming (ZOL), which was attended by over 150.  The event with the most attendees overall was “Global Market Overview,”  which was attended by over 240.

The area of market research in the Vivaness  congress also attracted special interest.  More than 100 attended the presentation, entitled “The 2016 natural cosmetics year: Looking back and looking forward.”

Like Biofach, the 2017 presentation of its natural personal-care counterpart held for a cosmetics market which is becoming greener all the time ended with good results.  In addition to the pavilions of Vivaness’s two honorary sponsors, Cosmos and Natrue, visitors showed keen interest in numerous other highlights. These ranged from the novelty stand, displaying 196 innovative products to the “German Newcomers” pavilion, which was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and housed 10 exhibitors, to the young innovative companies from abroad involved in the special show Breeze. With representatives from nine countries, Breeze was even more international than in 2016 and included enterprises from Australia and the United States, among others.

Said Harald Dittmar, the managing director of the German Association of Industrial and Retail Companies for Medicines, Health Foods, Food Supplements and Cosmetics (BDIH), which is one of the founding members of Cosmos:  “Vivaness 2017 was a complete success for Cosmos and the BDIH. Even the companies from abroad exhibiting Cosmos-certified products at the Cosmos pavilion this year for the first time were all very positive with their experience at Vivaness. This shows that the market for natural and organic cosmetics is continuing to grow steadily and there are good opportunities even with smaller companies and start-ups. The demand for certification in accordance with the Cosmos standard has increased significantly once again both in and outside of Germany, and the fact that compliance with the standard became compulsory for allo Cosmos members on January 1, 2017, is bound to have contributed here. As one of Vivaness’s honorary sponsors, they were delighted to be able to enrich the trade fair with and appearance dominated by internationality.”

Said Klara Ahlers, the president of Natrue: “Congratulations on producing such successful trade fairs.  Over 50,000 visitors confirms how great the international interest in Biofach and Vivaness and in the organic and natural cosmetics industries is. Vivaness informed, inspired and showcased current trends through product worlds, a specialized supporting program and discussions. As an honorary sponsor of Vivaness, they are pleased it was a success. It is an international meeting place and an important shop window for certified natural cosmetics and Natrue. They marked Natrue’s 10th anniversary at Vivaness and they can’t imagine a better place to have celebrated the occasion.  The Natrue team met a lot of interesting people and were able to acquire a large number of new contacts. The 10 exhibitors in the Natrue pavilion were also very happy.”

A wide range of newly developed products and innovative discoveries were presented at the Biofach and Vivaness novelty stands once again in 2017. There were 770 new products registered for these two stands altogether (Biofach, 574; Vivaness, 196), and visitors were given the opportunity to vote for those products that they believed were the most interesting and worthy of recognition.

In order to give participating Philippine companies and interested individuals a glimpse on what these interesting products are, the lucky winners of the resulting Best New Product Awards can be viewed at and

The Olive Oil Awards were also presented in the Olive Oil World of Experience at Biofach. A list of winners here can be viewed at

The DTI-EMB said they hope “that the international recognition has given our Philippine natural and organic businesses and individuals the impetus to pursue their respective commitments and interests in all things natural and organic. The entire world is waiting for Philippine natural and organic producers to offer it what they have been nurturing and taking care of all these years. We wish them nothing but success in Biofach and Vivaness 2018 for we know that they have what the world demands and requires when it comes to natural and organic products be it food, botanicals or cosmetics.”

21 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Department of Trade and Industry in Region 4A (DTI 4A) hosted on February 17 the Calabarzon Investment Forum and B2B Meetings with the Canada Inbound Mission delegates in Lucena City, Quezon, to promote investments and exports in the region.

The forum was part of the program of activities of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto (PCCT) Inbound Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines, an offshoot of the Outbound Trade and Business Mission in Canada organized by the DTI 4A, in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology Calabarzon, Philippine Coconut Research and Development Foundation Inc., and the local government of Alabat through the support of the DTI-Foreign Trade Services Corps Toronto in November 2017.

“We in DTI want to improve the economic conditions at the grassroots level, targeting farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises, increase export of coconut products like makapuno not only to Canada but also to other parts of the world, promote organic production of an indigenous food product and develop as part of a bigger industry development program,” DTI Calabarzon Director Marilou Toledo said.

Toledo said the agency is promoting Philippine brands in consonance with the 7Ms strategy—mind-set change, mastery, mentoring, money, machine, market access and models of business—of entrepreneurship.

Among the investment opportunities that will be tackled is the Philippine makapuno industry and agribusiness investment promotion in Alabat Island. PCCT has expressed serious interest in the program. Thus, the Canada delegates visiting the Philippines, together with other Canadian-based companies, such as iAdverTUBE, Canada Business Connections, Blueprint Canada, Accubooks, Montephil Inc., Boulevard, G&C Logistics  and the Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec, pursue and finalize talks about the joint-venture project and explore other business and investment opportunities.

The forum sought to encourage investments and exports in Calabarzon and promote local products and services to the North American market, especially in the food and nonfood sector, business-process outsourcing, custom brokerage, education, construction  and real-estate business.

The program included discussions on turning overseas Filipinos to overseas Filipino investors, technologies on makapuno processing, support program for the Alabat Island Economy and a signing of a memorandum of agreement.

07 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

PARTICIPANTS under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (Ripples) Plus program will be part of the Ambiente 2018 from February 9 to 13 in Messe Frankfurt, Germany.

The local companies participating in Ambiente are Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation, Red Slab Pottery and PumicUnlimited Ventures.

The RIPPLES Plus Program is headed by DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) in partnership with DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG).

The program is assisting emerging micro, small, and medium enterprises  in the development of their products and services through strategic interventions such as trainings and capacity-building; investment, marketing and promotions, support for innovation, product development and design; market access facilitation through Mutual Recognition Arrangements  and certifications. These interventions or modes of assistance will ensure that the companies are competent and export-ready. The program has worked toward increasing the number of internationally competitive local product and services exporters with EMB at the helm.

The Philippines’s Ambiente 2018 participation is under the Lifestyle Philippines brand with the theme “Sustainability through Design,” in which the brand bridges the ecological gap between ethics and aesthetics, infusing nature and artisanship in crafting products for modern living.

Returning and new Filipino exhibitors from the home-décor sector will showcase products under the trade fair’s three categories: Dining, Giving, and Living.

Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation and Celestial Arts qualify for the Dining category, which covers table, kitchen, houseware and household products. GSG Paper is in the Giving category for their handmade and vibrant products that fit in the group’s varied gift selection.

Red Slab Pottery, Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Tadeco Home Décor, PumiceUnlimited Ventures, 33 Point 3, Arden Classic, Chanalli, Finali Furniture & Home Accessories, Freden Export, Larone Crafts and Nature’s Legacy are under the Living category’s home interiors and design collection.

The country has a trademark on featuring products with sustainability but, still have beautiful and excellent design. Most designers are inspired on plants and other natural resources abundant in the archipelago to materialize their vision.

This is the Philippines’s third collective participation at Ambiente, the leading international trade fair for consumer goods happening in Messe Frankfurt, Germany. Table settings, kitchen accessories and household products take the spotlight in the show. Gifts, interior trends and home concepts are also showcased. From abaca, raffia, bamboo, rattan, coconut husk, mother of pearl, fine bone china, artisan communities of the Philippines transform these renewable materials into consciously crafted objects, thus minimizing the negative impact on our country’s resources and at the same time, connecting the buyers with the Philippines’s natural environment. The Philippines’s Ambiente 2018 participation is organized by the Citem, the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Citem is targeting $1.8 million worth of export sales.

“Ambiente 2018 is a great platform to strengthen Philippine companies’ network and client base in Germany and the rest of Europe. The trade fair is a wonderful experience for Filipino exporters because they have a chance to be acquainted with the international market’s latest trends,” Citem Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said.

Citem’s efforts to increase the global competitiveness of the country’s gifts, décor, and houseware sector are in line with the government’s latest target—to grow the sector by 20 percent in the next five years. The Board of Investments identified more than 2,400 handicraft enterprises in the Philippines. Majority of those are MSMEs located in the NCR, Cordillera Region, Region 5, and Region 12.

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