22 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez urged a 108-man delegation from the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) to explore Philippine products that would complement the needs of the South Korean market.

Lopez pushed for organic, natural food and health care, as well as design-driven products, including furniture, fixtures and garments. Likewise, he emphasized the growing opportunities in electronic parts and components, and software and game development.

“We encourage you to discover other products from the Philippines that you can bring back to South Korea. The Philippine government is committed to assist your buying mission in the country. We are optimistic that this deepening relationship and trade cooperation would help our countries in addressing trade imbalance,” Lopez told the delegation.

The KOIMA delegation is currently in the Philippines for a buying mission to source raw materials and other products from the country. The delegation represents over 50 South Korean companies.

The Philippines is the biggest supplier of fresh bananas and pineapples in South Korea. Fresh mango, calamansi or Philippine lemon, coconut water, virgin coconut oil and banana chips are also noted to be popular in the South Korean market.

During the PHL-Korea Business Forum organized by DTI on July 11, 2019, officials from the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) and Board of Investments (BOI) presented various trade and investment opportunities in the country to the delegates.

A business matching activity was also organized that would link the delegation with over 100 Filipino companies. The said activity has facilitated over 200 business meetings.

Lopez emphasized the growing opportunities once the negotiation over the PHL-Korea free-trade agreement (FTA) has concluded. He added that Koima and Philippine exporters will greatly benefit from the agreement.

The trade chief likewise offered the assistance of the DTI to KOIMA in facilitating trade in the country.

“President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is committed in making doing business in the country easy. So we assure you that DTI will be your partner in the Philippines as we work on streamlining more government processes and promote e-government,” Lopez assured.

Meanwhile, KOIMA Chairman Kwang-hee Hong expressed optimism in the stronger business relationship between Philippines and South Korea. He also shared that Korean importers are greatly interested in Philippine products.

Present during the forum were South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Dong-man Han, Trade Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Board of Investments Governor Angelica Cayas, CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, DTI-EMB Director Senen Perlada, Philippine Trade and Investment Center-South Korea Commercial Counsellor Jose Ma. Dinsay, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Alegria Limjoco.

By Angie M. Brosas | Knowledge Processing Division | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

08 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Philippine government is sending the Philippines’s first-ever delegation of Philippine start-ups to the RISE Conference 2019, the largest technology conference in Asia, from July 9 to 11 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

The Philippine participation in the RISE Conference 2019 is one of the key projects under the Start-up Assistance Program 2019-2023 agreed upon by the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Science and Technology (DOST) and Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The three government agencies are working together to promote and assist Philippine startups through the following joint initiatives: the digital start-ups Philippine Program of the DICT which aims to boost the ICT ecosystem and promote and develop local ICT start-up businesses; the Technology Transfer Support for Nurturing Tech Start-Ups of DOST-PCIEERD, which contributes to the economic and industrial development of the country; and DTI-EMB’s Startup Pilipinas, which provides government support to scale up local start-ups by participating in outbound business-matching missions and international pitching competitions.

The government selected the exhibitor-participants based on the following criteria: innovation, scalability, motivation and delegation profile. The DOST shouldered the tickets and conference passes of the start-up participants while DICT and DTI shouldered the booth expenses and country pavilion.

The 28 selected start-ups are Aiah, Arnichem Corp., BeamAndGo, Nexplay, Burket.Ph, Captivate, C Estates-Tokenized Real Estate Platform, Cocotel, Farmwatch Solutions Inc. Hoy, HYBrain, Hyperstacks, Insight Supply Chain Solutions, Jazzypay, Kumu Inc. Mayani, Mosaic Solutions, NXTLVL Farms, NXTLVL Water, PearlPay, Prosperna, Social Light, Stock Knowledge, StyleGenie, transitflix by GYPSY, Tudlo Innovation Solutions Inc., Wizher and Partner incubators and accelerators—Brainsparks, Impact Hub Manila and QBO Innovation Hub will also take part of the Philippine delegation.

The participation of these start-up companies will feature the Philippine start-up community’s potential in the international market, and provide them with global exposure and opportunities on partnerships, mentorship and investments.

The Startup Pilipinas is a five-point program developed by the DTI as the industry cluster program to foster inter-enterprise linkages among MSMEs and strengthen collaborative networks. With this action plan, the Philippine government aims to create high-growth and high-impact start-ups that will nurture innovation, sustain economic growth and generate large-scale employment opportunities. Digital start-ups Philippine Program promotes and develops the country’s start-up ecosystem by bringing together industry stakeholders and enabling them to create innovative business products and solutions for economic development.

01 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center (PNHLSC) in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez underscored the need to increase Philippine halal products in domestic and export markets to maximize the opportunities of a growing global halal market amounting to $2.6 trillion.

During the second Philippine National Halal Conference on July 3, 2019, at Quest Conference Center in Clark, Pampanga, Lopez emphasized that halal is not just a certification for products that will cater to the Muslim market but a growing sector that has gained consumer, acceptance even by non-Muslim consumers as well.

“Halal is not just for the Muslims; it is a way of life. It connotes purity, cleanliness, safety, quality—so many positive attributes that are now being recognized by non-Muslim consumers worldwide. Halal-certified products are associated with these attributes. Maximizing its opportunities will help the government in realizing President Duterte’s vision of providing better and comfortable lives for all Filipinos by creating more jobs. And we can do this by tapping halal’s booming global market and taking advantage of more business opportunities,” Lopez said.

Out of the $2.6-trillion global halal market, 62 percent is accounted by food and beverages followed by pharmaceuticals at 22 percent, cosmetics and personal care at 10 percent and nutraceutical at 6 percent.

“We encourage our MSMEs, especially in the countryside, to develop their products, and explore the opportunities in the growing demand for halal-certified products,” Lopez said.

Halal market is estimated to reach $10 trillion by 2025. Its food and beverage is expected to reach $1.93 trillion by 2022 from $1.25 trillion in 2016. A growing projection is also noted in halal tourism, which accounted for $169 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $283 billion by 2022. Other services like the Islamic Finance and Islamic Commercial Banking combined accounted for $3 trillion in 2016 and is expected to reach more than $6 trillion by 2022.

“I am optimistic that with greater collaboration between various sectors, we can support more MSMEs, encourage them to do and grow their businesses, and help us in developing more halal hubs in the country catering to domestic, as well as export markets,” the trade chief said.

Halal Board, to officially launch Philippine halal logo, which will be used for Halal products made in the Philippines.

“We would like to see notable exports of our halal products in the future. With this logo, our products can be identified easily by consumers as halal-certified products,” Lopez said.

The trade chief also shared that DTI’s accreditation bureau will implement a special window to cater to Philippines Halal Certification Bodies.

The DTI said the existing logo of halal certification bodies will still be allowed, especially if this is part of respective internal requirements.

Also present during the event were DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman and Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Executive Director Tahir Lidasan Jr.  Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries Secretary-General Ihsan Ovut and Atty. Rhaejee Tamaña from the office of Sen.Cynthia A. Villar.

01 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

TO ensure the implementation of the iron processing plant project signed during the recent Presidential visit to China in April, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez engaged with Chinese investor group to discuss the details of their expansions, as well as the menu of incentives provided by the Philippine government.

In his business meeting with Xiamen C&D Inc. executives led by Vice President Dongxu Chen, C&D Logistics Group Co. Ltd. General Manager Yueha Chen, and MinaVida de Mindanao Corp. (MMC) officers headed by Chairman Alex Fu on  June 18, 2019, Lopez relayed that the commencement of signed projects sends a strong signal in the deepening relationship between the Philippines and China.

“President Duterte and his administration are supportive of investment projects that have high impact in improving the lives of Filipinos, providing jobs and opportunities especially those at the bottom of the pyramid. We are optimistic of our stronger relationship with China following the big-ticket projects in infrastructure, manufacturing and energy,” Lopez said.

Xiamen C&D has presence in the Philippines’s renewable-energy industry through their local partners Pulangi Hydro Power Corp. (PHPC) and Liangan Power Corp. Last April, they signed a $50 million worth of investment on iron processing plant in Agusan del Norte together with Fu Properties Inc. and their Filipino partner Adnama Mining Resource Inc. The investment covered construction, operation, marketing, as well as management of the plant.

Xiamen C&D is a renowned supply-chain operator in China and has “AAA” level credit standing enterprise rating. It also ranked 39th among their country’s Top 500. C&D Logistics Group Co. Ltd., China’s top 100 logistics enterprise, handles the marketing and chartering support for the operations of MMC. “This is the best time to increase your investments in the Philippines. Apart from the strong macroeconomic fundamentals, we have initiated various policy and economic reforms to attract more investors that will partner with us,” the trade chief added.

PHPC is the group that recently started the 250-megawatts Pulangi hydropower plant in Bukidnon.

MMC is involve in a large-scale nickel project with substantial high-grade mineral reserves and integrated metallurgical operations in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi.

Meanwhile, Chen commended the Philippines’s good business environment and expressed their strong confidence in the country’s economy. He, likewise, committed to start their project immediately. Fu also relayed their company’s intention to continue doing business in the country and grow their operations in real estate, mining, as well as hydropower.

01 July 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez presides at a press briefing on the sidelines of the recent ASEAN Summit in Bangkok.

BANGKOK, Thailand—Trade ministers of the ASEAN countries are united in their commitment to conclude the seven year-long negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement this year.

Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said, with the challenges being faced by the multilateral trading system right now, and the protectionist stance of some countries, there is a need to reinforce the trust on the international trade rules, and the free interface of economies, especially in the ASEAN region and its trading partners.

“In this era of globalization and the advent of new technologies, countries need each other and we have to work in a stable and predictable economic environment.” Lopez said.

During the special economic ministers meeting, the trade ministers reaffirmed their commitment on the trade pact, settling several pending issues, and reminded participating countries that it is highly crucial to conclude the negotiation this year.

RCEP is envisioned as the biggest trade deal. With 16 trading partners, it is equivalent to almost 50 percent of the world population and almost one-third of the world economy and trade. The next round of negotiation will be held next week in Melbourne, Australia. It is expected that substantial progress will be achieved in that round.

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