By Benedict M. Uy / Director of Commercial Affairs, Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Foreign Trade Service Cops-DTI
On the part of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and the DTI, our “business as usual” is to promote Philippine exports to Taiwan and invite Taiwanese investors to the Philippines. I would dare say we are doing rather well on these mandates. Statistics would show that investments in the past five years from Taiwan have risen. More non-traditional products from the Philippines have also been entering the Taiwan market.
Under the Tsai administration, Taiwan also embarked on their “New Southbound Policy”, which, we are optimistic, will redound to more trade and investments as they seek to expand to Asean and diversify from the Mainland.
However, living up to the DTI mantra “Serbisyong higit pa sa inaasahan”, if we are to go the extra mile, and we are, a significant portion of our efforts goes to developing linkages with organizations to help develop our industries. Exchanges and collaborations with the likes of Taiwan Design Center, ITRI, CSD, and others are ongoing. We hope to learn more from Taiwan, especially in the areas of product development, agriculture and aquaculture, packaging, tool and die and precision machining, among others.
With all the research and development and global exposure that the Taiwanese companies have had the past decades and the reputation they have built in various industries, it behooves our Filipino MSMEs to look up to the north. They can seek knowledge, ideas, suppliers and business partners in Taiwan. One would see very good product-packaging designs and technologies even in their regular food shops. A simple pineapple cake (hopia with pineapple jam filling instead of monggo or pork) in Taiwan seems to be in a constant beauty contest—great packaging and excellent price, to boot. I also have never seen so many “award-winning” rice varieties, fruit vinegars and sauces in supermarket shelves. Their XO Sauces, a.k.a. sosyal na bagoong are also sold at a much higher value.
To end this article, I encourage the readers to take time to visit Taiwan and attend trade shows that can help their enterprises scale up. The Philippines will be mounting a country pavilion at the Taipei International Food Show in June so we are now accepting interested exporter-participants (please apply through Citem). That show will also feature food processing equipment and packaging technologies that may help enhance the product offerings of our kababayan. Some other shows that might be of interest are: Tai- wan Machine Tool Show (March); Autoparts and Accessories Show, including Electric Vehicle and Auto Electronics (April); Kaohsiung Industrial Automation Exhibition (June); Bio Taiwan Show for biotechnology, advanced agriculture and aquaculture (July); and Taiwan International Plastics, Rubberand Composites Show (September).
Let us make Taiwan a technology partner for our country’s development and widen our export offerings. Go north. •