11 November 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The latest World Bank Doing Business 2020 study shows the Philippines jumping 29 spots from 124th to 95th, the biggest mover in ASEAN and a positive sign toward making it easier to conduct business in the country. Aside from this, the country was also cited in Standard Chartered’s Trade20 Index as one of the top 20 markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth.

In line with improving the ease of doing business and providing Philippine exporters the enabling environment to make them more globally competitive, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) launched its business intelligence platform, Tradeline Philippines ( in 2016. 

The Web-based portal serves as DTI-EMB’s main information and communications technology (ICT) tool in providing its stakeholders with an integrated export information system that provides regular trade statistics reports, market and product information, supplier and buyer databases, and other trade-related information.

One of the major components of Tradeline Philippines is the online Business Matching System (, a business-to-business (B2B) platform where registered local suppliers and foreign buyers can meet for potential transactions. 

The searchable supplier and buyer database allow buyers to contact Philippine exporters who can provide products or raw materials that match their requirements. Exporters who register in the site are verified first by DTI-EMB’s product officers to ensure that they are legitimate businesses. A user manual for both buyers and suppliers is also downloadable for easy reference and guide.

For those who are looking for trade statistics, Tradeline Philippines has an Interactive Trade Statistics page where you can search for specific export and import figures based on year, products, market and point of origin, among others. There is also a Quick Stats feature that shows the country’s top trading partners, export markets, export products and exporting provinces. These can be printed or downloaded as a PDF document or spreadsheet for future reference.

The site also has Market and Industry Profiles that provide an overview of the country’s export markets and products. Other resources that can be accessed for free are directories of government agencies, trade associations, as well as an interactive directory of Philippine exporters.  

For the latest trends and updates on the export industry, users can download publications like the Euromonitor Digest, a bimonthly online publication of the EMB, which aims to provide insightful analysis on the reports culled from Euromonitor International’s Business Intelligence Research, and Market Intelligence  Digest. Special publications, like the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 Executive Summary and the Philippine Export Guidebook, are also available for download.

Those who are interested in exporting can also check out the list of prohibited and regulated products for exports to avoid unnecessary complications and ensure hassle-free trade with their potential overseas buyers.

These are just some of the information available at one’s fingertips in Tradeline Philippines. Visit and discover products and services beyond your expectations. 


4 November 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Two grand ladies of chocolate marked a historic event at Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France. Dona Demetria Gutierrez of Mexico gave a symbolic baby cacao tree from Mexico to Charita Puentespina, founder and resident of Philippines’ Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp., makers of the award-winning Malagos Chocolate.

The event commemorated the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, the historic trade route which facilitated the exchange of goods between the Philippines and Mexico during the Spanish colonial era. Gutierrez and Puentespina are both cacao farmers in their respective countries.

The event was held on October 31, 2019, at the Podium at the Porte De Versailles during the Salon du Chocolat, the world’s largest event related to chocolate and cacao from cocoa-producing countries around the world.

Cacao was first introduced to the Philippines from Mexico via the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade (1565 to 1815). Although the exact variety of the Theobroma cacao brought to the Philippines is hard to determine, what is certain is that the crop thrived in Philippine growing conditions, considering that the country is located within the narrow band in the equatorial belt where cacao grows best.

The chocolate business in the Philippines has experienced a resurgence of late, owing to the efforts of the Philippine government, as well as local farmers like Puentespina and her family company, Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp., to promote Philippine chocolates in the world market.

The company’s Malagos Chocolate has led several other homegrown chocolate brands in garnering several awards from international chocolate organizations in the past few years. Cacao beans grown by Puentespina’s company were recently designated Heirloom Cacao by the US-based Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund.

Through the Outbound Business Matching Missions service of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau, Malagos Chocolates has been one of the seven micro, small and medium enterprises that participated in the Salon du Chocolat. The first participation of the Philippines in the event was in 2017.

According to the report from PTIC-Paris, the company has booked an initial sale per month with a British company for the supply of dark chocolates. Salon du Chocolat recognized them to be among the Top 50 submissions in the 166 entries from 40 countries of the International Cocoa Awards, a first for any Philippine producer for the Cacao of Excellence. The first participation also paved the way for awareness for Philippine cacao beans/chocolates in a globally competitive arena.

Malagos Agri-ventures has also participated in DTI-EMB’s Inbound Business Matching Missions (IBMMs) where buyers abroad visit the Philippines for the one-on-one meetings with the exporters. The International Food Exhibition (IFEX) is one of the venues where EMB assisted Malagos through the B2Bs. Trade leads from various buyers abroad like Europe who are looking for chocolate/cacao products are also being referred to Malagos Agri Ventures for possible future business negotiations.

07 October 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Sales of chocolate confectionery have been strong in Russia with the rise of imports and recovering economy driving growth.

The Euromonitor Digest released by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau said the supply of chocolate confectionery is benefiting from many imported brands returning to Russia and the increase in local production.

There was a drop in the supply of imported brands in 2015 and 2016, which prompted a rise in domestic production, following the introduction of European Union and the United States sanctions.

“While domestic brands typically cater to the mass market, imported brands also cater to demand for premium chocolate confectionery,” it said.

The report said retail volume growth was, however, slower in 2019 compared to the previous year, which was partly due to an increase in value-added tax and the resulting price hikes.

It noted consumers are expected to focus on quality over quantity, which should benefit value sales but could act as a drag on volume sales.

Tablets were the second-largest category in chocolate confectionery in current value terms in 2019 and are projected to become the largest category over the next few years, overtaking chocolate pouches and bags.

While being smaller categories, seasonal chocolate and boxed assortments both saw strong growth in current value terms in 2019. These products are often given as gifts or are consumed for special occasions.

“As a result, they have benefited from Russia’s improving economy with consumers showing a greater willingness to spend out on gifting. Seasonal chocolate saw particularly strong growth in 2019, albeit from a relatively low base,” the Euromonitor Digest further said.

The report added this category is benefiting from new product development with local and international brands focused on pushing seasonal sales with attractive packaging.

14 October 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Cologne, Germany–As part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI)  vigorous drive to push global promotion of exportable food and fruit products, and further boost the Philippine export industry, Trade Promotions Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman led a group of 36 Philippine food producers and manufacturers to the leading trade fair for food and beverage industry, the Anuga 2019, which ran here from October 5 to 9.

“This gathering signal a strong ‘One DTI’—an agency united by a common cause to uphold the quality of our local businesses and the export competitiveness of the Philippines in the global trade,” Macatoman said during the event’s ceremonial opening.

The Philippines highlighted the country’s premium commodities—banana, coconut, mango and tuna along with other top-notch products—in the said trade fair.

Speaking of trade, the Philippines and European countries have always maintained a solid partnership in matters of trade and investments. In terms of region, the European Union, or EU, is currently the Philippines’ fourth-largest trading partner, third-largest import source and fourth-largest export market in 2018 with Germany as the country’s top 7 export country destination.

The Philippines also continues to enjoy zero tariff benefits from the EU under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences or GSP+. The GSP+ coverage was implemented in 2014 and currently gives duty-free privileges in 6,274 product tariff lines from the Philippines.

The EU Commission’s 2018 midterm GSP evaluation showed that the Philippines has the second-most diversified export portfolio under EU-GSP+ with 3,047 tariff lines covered under EU-GSP+ from 2014 to 2016. The same report also indicated that the Philippines has an average EU-GSP+ utilization rate of 68.9 percent from 2014 to 2016.

“With the overwhelming response from our previous participation, we have brought this year our biggest delegation yet in Anuga with 36 companies under the FoodPhilippines banner as part of the Philippine government’s initiative to strengthen the Philippine and European relations in matters of trade and investment, It is through events like Anuga, which offers a platform for business opportunities and partnerships through the exchange of culture and flavors, that this trade relation continues to grow even further,” Macatoman said.

“We are thankful to our European partners for this privilege since around 25 percent of total Philippine exports to the EU benefit from the EU GSP+ trade preference. As of 2017, an estimate of more than €2-billion worth of Philippine exports has benefited from GSP+ trade preference,” Macatoman said.

This year, the Philippine delegation was graced by Madam Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, who has been a long-time businesswoman and an advocate of micro, small and medium enterprises.

The Philippine participation in Anuga 2019, is spearheaded by the DTI and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission, and Philippine Trade and Investment Centers Berlin, Germany.

30 September 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

By Gold Tabid-Grospe | TIDS, Market Innovation Division

In a bid to further strengthen Philippine exports by tapping into nontraditional markets, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), in collaboration with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) and the Philippine Embassy in New Delhi, conducted an Outbound Business Matching Mission (OBMM) to Mumbai, India, from August 28 to 31, 2019.

The DTI-EMB continues its active engagement with the Philippines’s South Asian neighbors, particularly in India. The said country is among the fastest-growing major economies in the world and is expected to become the third-largest consumer economy by 2025. Aside from being one of the most inhabited nations, India’s favorable demographics make it an ideal trading partner—an increasing young population, expanding middle-class and rising income levels.

The OBMM to Mumbai was participated by Filipino companies from the areas of fast-moving consumer goods, such as packaged foods and snacks, beverages, personal-care products, and pharmaceuticals, all of which were identified to have great potential in the Indian market.

“We are intensifying our efforts to enhance the country’s bilateral trade with India by exporting quality Philippine products and services to this booming market through this mission,”  DTI-Trade Promotions Group (TPG) Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said.

The mission aimed to directly link Filipino exporters with potential business partners in the financial capital of India and pursue further opportunities particularly under the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement. This year’s initiative was a follow-through of the first business mission to New Delhi in 2017.

Philippine Ambassador to India, H.E. Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr. received the delegation led by DTI-EMB Assistant Director Agnes Perpetua R. Legaspi. He expressed his full support for programs that will advance the Philippines’s trade interests and boost the country’s economic ties with India.

During the mission, the delegation participated in business-to-business meetings with the members of various trade associations in India, including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and  Industry, All India Association of Industries and World Trade Center Mumbai.

A “Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan”  seminar was also organized which allowed the delegation to link with the Filipino community in Mumbai for potential collaboration and business expansion. Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes endorsed the delegation as he urged Filipinos in Mumbai to look for business opportunities and adopt the entrepreneurial mindset.

The OBMM also coincided with the 14th edition of India’s biggest food and beverage exhibition, the Annapoorna ANUFOOD India. The delegation took the opportunity to observe, network with Indian companies and generate business leads during the event.

“This business mission to India is a testimony of DTI-EMB’s commitment to diversify our exports to nontraditional markets. Barely two weeks after the mission, we already received reports from our participants on the developments in their negotiations with prospective buyers from India. We will continue to monitor the progress and be in full support of our exporters,” Legaspi said.

In 2018, India was the 15th trading partner of the Philippines, 17th export market, and 14th import supplier. The total bilateral trade was valued at $2.37 billion.

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