20 December 2017

Also Published in Business Mirror

ON the sidelines of the meeting of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez discussed with an Argentinian investor how to expand the sourcing of local seaweeds.

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, Agustin Perez, head of Farmesa’s International group.  Perez said aside from the big potential of locally sourcing seaweeds, he finds the Philippine business environment stable and the economy very dynamic, which adds 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 research and development, production and exportation of food additives and ingredients to several food companies worldwide.

Lopez reaffirmed 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 Asia.

They also recognize the potential of harnessing the free-trade agreements and the general system of preferences (GSP) trade arrangements the Philippines has with other countries in the region, as well as in the United States and European Union.

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 the bulk of their production.

Lopez reassured the investor of President Duterte’s commitment there will be no corruption in their dealings with the government and to ensure their ease of doing business, the full assistance of the Board of Investments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority 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 S. Rodolfo, and Department of Trade and Industry’s Mexico-based Commercial Counselor for Latin America Vichael Angelo Roaring.