On the sidelines of the meeting of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed with an Argentinian investor how to expand sourcing of local seaweeds.  Sec Lopez met with one of the owners of food ingredient-producer Farmesa, which has a plan to set-up a seaweeds processing plant in the Philippines. 

The Philippines will be their first manufacturing operations outside Argentina, according to Mr. Agustin Perez, Head of Farmesa’s International group.  Mr. Perez confided that aside from the big potential of locally sourcing seaweeds, he finds the Philippines business environment stable and the economy very dynamic, which add on to his confidence in pursuing their growth story in the Philippines.  He cited the country as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  

FARMESA, is an Argentinian family enterprise that specializes in the R&D, production, and exportation of food additives and ingredients to several food companies worldwide.  Sec. Lopez reaffirmed that their expansion plans can bring them closer to both the source of their main ingredient seaweeds, as well as the market of their products in the Philippines and Asian region. 

They recognize as well the potential of harnessing the FTA and GSP trade arrangements that the Philippines have with other countries in the region as well as in US and EU. 

Secretary Lopez lauded Farmesa for their decision to choose the Philippines ahead of other candidate countries for the company´s expansion.  The availability of raw materials plus the strategic location of the country factored highly in the country’s evaluation.  They currently had to source seaweeds from several Asian countries and bring it to Argentina for processing. Now they can focus their sourcing in the Philippines and do the processing right in the country.    While they have existing client companies, they plan to export bulk of their production. 

Secretary Lopez reassured the investor of President Duterte’s commitment that there will be no corruption in their dealings with government and to ensure their ease of doing business, the full assistance of the Board of Investments and PEZA will be extended when they start to implement their plans to produce and export. 

Also in the meeting were the Board of Investments Managing Head, Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, and DTI’s Mexico-based Commercial Counselor for Latin America Vichael Angelo Roaring.♦