15 September 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

SEVENTY local firms have joined the Philippine delegation in the 15th China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) in the country’s Commodity Pavilion located at Hall D15 of the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center in Guangxi, China, from September 12 to 15.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), members of the national delegation are currently exhibiting the country’s premier export brands and products in the four various sectors: home and fashion, food, services, and health and wellness.

“The Philippine export drive in China and Southeast Asia is now in full swing as we bring the highest number of local firms yet in the country’s 13 years of participation in Caexpo,” said DTI-Citem Executive Director Paulina Suaco-Juan, also the delegation’s vice secretary- general.

“This bigger and bolder participation signifies the government’s commitment to scale up local players in the international market and strengthen the country’s position as a global trade and investment hub,” she noted.

Caexpo is the second-biggest trade event in China, with a total exhibition space of more than 100,000 square meters, accommodating around 4,600 exhibition booths and 57,000 participants all over the world.

It is the only international trade fair in the region dedicated to promoting the building of China-Asean Free Trade Area (Cafta) and celebrating regional economic and trade cooperation.

For 2018 the DTI-Citem targets for the delegation to generate $26 million worth of export deals from trade buyers.

In 2017 the Philippine delegation had 42 exhibiting companies with a target of $8 million in export sales. Companies that year were able to bring in $37.94-million export deals from 4,076 buyers, increasing its sales by more than sixfold compared to the $6.747 million in 2016.

The best sellers in 2017 are banana chips, native bags made of pandan and healthy drinks made from tropical fruits like mangosteen and guyabano.

“For this year, we increased the number of companies that sell natural and organic food products since there is a huge demand from the increasingly health-conscious Chinese market as observed from last year’s participation,” Suaco-Juan said.

“We look to leverage on these trade opportunities as more demand comes with China’s continuous economic expansion with its ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” she added.

Innovation is a highlight of the 15th Caexpo since it will showcase the trends in the manufacturing sector in China and Asean countries by popularizing advanced information and smart technologies, strengthening the bilateral cooperation in industrial capacity and equipment manufacturing.

“Aside from selling, our local companies can get new product inspirations from the innovative exhibits and business-matching activities as they seek to better integrate themselves in the global value chain,” she said.

As part of the delegation, seven investment promotion agencies (IPAs) are set to present the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) through an exhibit in the National Pavilion and a conference to highlight the country’s agritourism services and investment packages.

The investment opportunities are discussed at the “Philippine Investment Promotion Conference” from 2 to 5 p.m. at Seminar Room D105 along the Hibiscus Hall during the second day of Caexpo on September 15.

Participating IPAs include the Board of Investments, Clark Development Corp., Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Mount Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone, Philippine Retirement Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Tourism Infrastructure and Economic Zone Authority.

Other partner agencies forming the Philippine delegation include the Provincial Government of Tarlac, Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Guangzhou, DTI-Export Marketing Bureau, DTI Region 11, the Department of Agriculture-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, Tourism Promotions Board and Bank of China.