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08 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez receives on behalf of President Duterte the Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030 on March 28. He is joined by other government officials from the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Transportation, and Labor and Employment, as well as officers from private stakeholders.

PAMPANGA—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP), and the Philippine Contractors Association (PCA), launched the Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030 on  March 28, with the theme “Tatag at Tapat 2030” to ensure the sustainability of the construction industry’s growth and its competitiveness.

The road map will also complement the government’s massive infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build.”

“The road map is proof of the Philippine government’s holistic commitment in improving the quality of construction services consistent with the principles of sustainability, increasing the number of globally competitive Filipino construction-industry players, and equipping the whole project cycle with efficient and modern technologies,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

“In consultation with stakeholders and with our team of experts and partners, we have identified the roadblocks in the construction industry that must be addressed to reach our goals,” Lopez added.

“With this road map, the construction industry aims to grow its contribution to the economy from P2.3 trillion in 2018 to P130 trillion cumulatively by 2030. This value is 325 percent larger than the P43- trillion projected growth without a road map. Its implementation will also increase job opportunities for construction work force from 4 million in 2018 to 7 million by 2030. That’s 3 million new jobs expected to be created.”

The trade chief then shared the agency’s drive to develop the country as an artificial intelligence (AI) center for excellence, where industries like construction will be able to produce higher-value software and hardware products, as well as outputs with the use of technology.

“The role of innovation in construction development is very important. The construction ecosystem now has focus on finding solutions to the many challenges faced by the industry. And AI will be our answer to these challenges. An example will be machine learning that could optimize schedules to order target deadlines, as well as detect discrepancies in blueprints and correct them through programmed scenarios. Imagine if the Philippines will be able to design and produce this kind of system for our construction industry. We could eventually start exporting knowledge processing in the future,” Lopez said.

The country will leverage on the strengths of a Filipino work force that is skilled, educated, highly- trainable, has good work attitude and with excellent command of English in realizing this vision, he said.

Another important content of the road map includes the legislation of a long-term infrastructure development program that will ensure the continuity of the programs beyond changing administration so the country can catch up on infrastructure deficiencies. The proposed law will feature a 30-year Infrastructure Master Plan with emphasis on maintaining a budget of at least 5 percent of the GDP.

The theme Tatag at Tapat 2030 encapsulates the stability and renewed strength that the industry aims for. It is rooted in the integrity in all construction activities from the regulatory and procurement process, to workmanship, design specifications and functional quality of the structures to be built.

The road map aligns its goals and strategies with the Philippine Development Plan and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

It highlights the vision of the Philippine Construction Industry to be a global partner in building nations by 2030 through the achievement of the integrated four pillars: Productivity, Sustainability, Globalization and Institutions.

Productivity covers the efficient, modern, and digital technologies founded on a culture of integrity, professionalism and innovation.

Sustainability refers to the quality of construction and services, consistent with the principles of sustainability.

Globalization introduces competitive players with increased scope, scale and specialization of services.

Institutions refer to strong government leadership and regulations, supported by a highly interconnected network of private institutions working toward inclusive development.

DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba expressed the agency’s full support of the growth and development of the construction industry.

“We recognize the significant contribution of the construction industry in the economic growth of the country and in providing opportunities to many Filipinos through job generation,” Barba said.

Present during the launch were Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Maria Catalina Cabral; Department of Transportation Undersecretary Ruben Reinoso; DTI Undersecretaries Ruth Castelo, Ireneo Vizmonte and Abdulgani Macatoman, and Assistant Secretary Angelo Taningco; Department of Labor and Employment Assistant Secretary Mariano Alquiza; CIAP Executive Director Ramon Abiera; PCA President Morris Agoncillo; Philippine Overseas Construction Board Chairman Isidro Consunji; Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board Chairman Pericles Dakay; Construction Manpower Development Foundation Chairman Tito Manalo; Construction Industry Commissioner Justice Teresita Baldoz; and Steel Asia Manufacturing President Adrian Cristobal.

By Gil Gabriel D. Ragil | Emerging Products Division (EPD) | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

08 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Philippines’s Outbound Business Matching Mission (OBMM) to Nuremberg, Germany, with Biofach and Vivaness 2019 held on February 11 to 20, 2019, earned actual sales of over $1 million and over $19 million in negotiated sales.

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), the Philippines’s participation in Biofach 2019 was on its second consecutive year, and its partaking in Vivaness 2019 was the country’s very first time.

The mission sought to promote European Union certified-organic and natural products from the Philippines with niche markets in Germany and the rest in Europe as its target markets.

Germany is the biggest market for organic products in the EU with a 9.7-percent market share; the EU with a 37-percent global share is the second biggest single market for organic products, next to that of the US which has a 47-percent global share. The total global demand for certified-organic products has reached $90 billion over the past two decades and is projected to reach $300 billion by 2025.

A total of 14 Philippine companies participated this year—11 in Biofach 2019 and three in Vivaness 2019. Exhibiting at Biofach were Ahya Coco Organic Food Mfg. Corp., Century Pacific Agricultural Ventures Inc., Filipinas Organic Coconut Products Corp., JPM Eco Farms Inc., Lao Integrated Farms Inc., Raw Brown Sugar Mill Co. Inc., San Pablo Manufacturing Corp., Team Asia Corp., Treelife Coco Sugar, Tropicana Food Products Inc., and Wellnesscare Inc.

Elemie Naturals Inc., Galo Organic & Naturals Ventures and Giga Natural Products Specialist Corp were Vivaness 2019 pioneering Philippine participants.

Based on the participants’ daily sales reports, the top-selling products were coconut, moringa, muscovado, banana chips, pili-based cosmetics, and coconut-based personal care.

The mission also provided the Philippine participants invaluable experience and retail insights during the Store Checks conducted in Go Asia, EBL, Saleo Natureflege, Kaufland and Grune Erde.

Various business meetings gave Philippine company-representatives the chance to interact, deal, and negotiate with foreign buyers of organic and/or natural products.

The business meetings were conducted on the following agenda/topics: Visayas or Luzon-based Philippine suppliers of organic or natural fresh mangoes; a possible future link-up with importers, wholesalers and foreign traders of organic products, dried fruits and vegetables, spices, baked seeds and related goods; possibility of discounts and travel expense sponsorship for interested Philippine companies in the biggest organic show in China; the benefits of membership in the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (Ifoam); Philippine suppliers of certified-organic fruits and vegetables; and  organic trade shows in Turkey.

Also discussed were opportunity for free company-listing at the Organic and Wellness News; Fairtrade Network of Asia and Pacific producers; the newest Biofach staging—Biofach Southeast Asia and the possibility of the Philippines’s hosting the event; Control Union Geo Services for organic farms; interest to source organic-certified jackfruit from the Philippines; interest to source organic-certified herbs and spices from the Philippines; sourcing Fairtrade-certified products from the Philippines; and opportunities to present natural and certified-organic products from the Philippines in Menope 2019

In line with this, the DTI-EMB, through its Emerging Products Division, will conduct activities regarding post Biofach and Vivaness 2019 in the coming months:  lead a Debriefing and info session for the participants; monitor the status of sales leads; and discuss with the Organization of Organic and Natural Exporters Philippines Inc. Biofach/Shows in Emerging Markets (e.g., China and the Middle East).

It will also undertake support under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporter (RIPPLES) Plus and monitor activities of ONE Philippines and its organizational meetings; conduct  capacity-building sessions on green packaging, orientation intro on EU REX, company evaluation and capacity building for Export Pathways Program levelling, and recommend identified participating companies for enrollment  in the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) MSME Academy.

By AG Raiza A. Caybot | Halal Section | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

01 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, led by Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, convened for the approval of the design and guidelines of the Philippine Halal Logo on March 19, 2019, at the Board of Investments Building, Makati City.

THE Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board (PHEDPB), led by Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, convened for the approval of the design and guidelines of the Philippine Halal Logo on March 19, 2019, at the Board of Investments Building, Makati City.

The board, composed of nine government agencies led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), approved the design and guidelines on the use of the Philippine Halal Logo during its ninth board meeting.

The conceptualization of the Philippine Halal Logo has gone through various consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders, including Muslim religious groups conducted by the Halal Export Board-Technical Working Group.

The guidelines on the use of Philippine Halal Logo will be issued to a product or service certified as Halal by the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB)- accredited Halal Certification Body demonstrating compliance with the standards set forth in the Philippine National Halal Certification Scheme and other related laws.

The launch  of the Philippine Halal Logo is set on May 3, 2019, at the second Philippine National Halal Conference at the Quest Hotel, Clark City, Pampanga.

By RD Velasco | Market Innovation Division (MID) | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

08 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Department of Trade and Industry is again leading the Philippine participation to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in Shanghai, China, on November 5 to 10, 2019.

Following a successful participation in the maiden edition of CIIE held last year, the Philippines plans to expand its participation to 100 companies.

The 50 Filipino companies that participated during last year’s CIIE recorded $37.5 million worth of booked and negotiated sales.

Philippine products will be showcased in two halls—at the Food and Agricultural Products Hall which features fruits, vegetables, seafood, beverages, dairy products, snack foods, condiments, sweets and agricultural products; and at the Quality Life Hall which features personal care, accessories, toys, gifts, fashion, furniture, household supplies, sports and entertainment goods, maternal and infant products, pet foods and supplies.

The CIIE is a brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping. It was launched last year to indicate China’s firm support to trade liberalization and to actively open the China market to the world. CIIE is a one of a kind trade show in China which only features foreign exhibitors with no China companies participating. It has three main components—Country Pavilion, Enterprise and Business Zone and the Hongqiao International Trade Forum.

It is a promising trading platform to promote Filipino products and services to the vast Chinese market and the rest of the world.

China was the Philippines’s top trading partner in 2018, with trade valued at $30.09 billion. However, the trade deficit was huge at around $12.7 billion.  CIIE is an avenue to increase Philippine exports and mitigate this trade imbalance.

For inquiries and booth reservation, please  contact the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions through Rowena Mendoza at email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone at (02) 831 22 01 local 257.

By Raison D. Arobinto | Halal Section | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

01 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

FOLLOWING the successful participation of 24 Philippine companies to the Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) last year, the Philippines hopes to surpass its 2018 record with 26 participating companies with Halal-certified products this year.

Last year, the  Philippine participant-companies realized negotiated sales of $10.4 million. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which spearheads the event,  hopes to surpass that figure this year.

MIHAS is an annual four-day gathering of local and international stakeholders of the whole global halal industry with an average trade visitor of more than 20,000 from across the globe. This year, MIHAS will take place at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur from April 3 to  6.

The Philippines has registered a continuous growth of actual and negotiated sales since its participation in 2016. Participating Philippine companies presented halal food and nonfood products, and had representation also from the investments and tourism sectors.

“The Philippine government is developing and promoting the country as a significant player in the global halal ecosystem. By our continued presence in Mihas, we are informing the world that the Philippines is ready to take on a bigger role in the halal industry. This, in turn, would increase our exports of halal products and services, as well as create more jobs for our countrymen, including our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also the chairman of the Halal Export Board.

Among the halal food to be exhibited in the Philippine pavilion are product variations of coconut, banana, coffee, mango and tuna,  which are included the country’s “Premium 7” food exports. Also included in the showcase are mangosteen, turmeric, cassava, pickled cucumber, polvoron and marine products.

The 19 Philippine food companies joining are Fruits of Life Inc.; Greenlife Coconut Product Philippines Inc.; Castillejos Agri-Farms Inc.; Alter Trade Corp.; MFP Home of Quality Products; Mira’s Turmeric Products; B&C Healthy Snack Foods Inc.; EJT Food Products; Magic Melt Foods Inc.; Gee’s Agri Coco Products; General Nutrifoods Philippines Inc.; Cassava Growers and Processors Association; Baker’s Field Enterprises; RK Trading and Services; Herbio Agrinature Processing Center; Permex Producer and Exporter Corp.; Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing Corp.; Carm Foods Enterprise Inc.; and Aliments Makkhan Bistro and Café.

The seven cosmetic and tourism players are Psalmtre Enterprises Inc.; C&H Cosmetics Industry; Starlder Laboratories Inc.; Asian Halal Centre (ZamboEcoZone); Bloomers Travel and Tours and Universe Islamic Center; Wellness Care Int’l Corp.; and Central Affirmative Co. Inc.

The Philippine delegation is spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau in collaboration with the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Kuala Lumpur, Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism Region 12, and DTI Regional Offices 9 and 12.

“Our annual participation has been part of the Philippine government’s efforts to put the country on the map in the global halal ecosystem under our banner program for the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion” said Undersecretary Abdugani M. Macatoman, head of the Philippine delegation this year, during the MIHAS 2019 pre-departure meeting of the Philippine delegation held at the DTI-International Building, Makati City, on March 18, 2019.

“This is our way of supporting the Philippines’s small and medium and large processors/suppliers in taking advantage of the growing global demand for halal products through Mihas, where we expect buyers not only from Malaysia but the rest of the participating countries all over the world” he added.

For the investments side, the PTIC in Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Halal Centre (ZamboEcoZone) are leading this segment with the tourism sectors such as the Bloomers Travel and Tours, and Universe Islamic Center with Aliments Makkan Bistro promoting the Philippine halal tourism.

Apart from the trade-related agenda, the Philippine is likewise promoting halal investments and tourism sectors, especially that the Philippines will be hosting the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) this year where significant number of Muslim spectators, guests and visitors are expected who most likely would require halal products and services.

As of this writing, preparations for the SEA Games are going on and, as a support, the conduct of the second Philippine National Halal Conference will have segments dedicated for this purpose.

The second Philippine National Halal Conference is a DTI-led major activity for halal this year. A follow-through of the first conference held last year in Davao,  the event will once again gather around 400 global and local major players in the halal industry, including Philippine MSMEs, exporters and would-be-exporters with halal-certified products and services, halal Export Board member-agencies such as the Departments of Tourism, Health, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Science and Technology, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Mindnao Development Authority, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, DTI Regional Operations Group, local and international or foreign investors, Philippine Halal Certification Bodies, Muslim Religious Leaders, Tourism sector, domestic consumers, academic community and other stakeholders.

The second conference will take place on May 2-3, 2019 in Clark, Pampanga. Interested participants are welcome to contact the Halal Section of the DTI for more details.

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