To leverage on the growing demand for processed food and beverages in India, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in New Delhi, and the Board of Investments (BOI) and Invest India recently conducted a webinar on Exploring Trade and Investment Opportunities with India for Philippine Processed Food and Beverages.

India is a growing market for new products such as breakfast cereals, pasta, infant food, bakery products, foreign liquor, and different types of oils and sauces, according to PTIC-New Delhi Commercial Counsellor Buster Elevado Jr.

Further, he said that COVID-19 has changed the food habits of the Indian people. Previously, most Indians still cooked their food at home. With the lockdowns and work from home arrangement, more people are ordering prepared food online. Both the Philippines and India also have a large business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry that employs millions of young people who have no time to cook their food on their own.

DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman shared that the Philippines is positioning itself as a competitive source of processed food and beverages and sees India as a good opportunity for exporters.

Meanwhile, DTI-EMB Assistant Director Agnes Perpetua Legaspi said that Philippine exporters enjoy reduced tariffs for 94 percent of exports to India.

The agency organized business- matching sessions with Indian companies conducted in 2018 and 2019 for processed food, beverages and personal care products.

On the other hand, BOI Director Raquel Echague emphasized the advantages of investing in the Philippines. Among these is the abundant land and fishery resources for agricultural and fishery production. Forty-two percent of the total land area in the country can be developed for agriculture production and 4.4 million square kilometers of municipal and inland fishery resources for aquaculture and fish production.

Assistant Secretary Bernardita Angara-Mathay of the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) said the Philippines welcomes the steady rise of trade and investment between the two countries while recognizing the growth potential.

Likewise, Mathay mentioned that both countries work at the forefront of global information technology and business-process outsourcing industry.

The Philippines and India recently concluded the virtual 13th Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investments on 17 September 2020, led by DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, and Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce of India Anant Swarup. The meeting focused on initiatives to foster synergies in various sectors, such as textiles, electronics, Information Technology-Business Process Management, energy and agriculture. 

In 2019, India ranked 14th as a Philippine trading partner, 17th as an export market, and 13th as an import supplier of the Philippines. ♦

Date of release: 26 October 2020