28 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-Citem), seeks to augment the Philippines’s trade relations with Japan as it showcases the country’s finest tropical flavors in the largest food fair in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the Food Philippines brand, DTI-Citem will bring the country’s top exporters of tropical fruits, beverages and other processed food in the 43rd International Food and Beverage Exhibition, popularly known as Foodex  Japan, from March 6 to 9 at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

“The Japanese people are no stranger to us. We know they have a penchant for our tropical fruits and that is what we are looking to showcase as we return to Foodex,” said Nora K. Terrado, DTI undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group and Citem officer in charge.

“We will also feature other tropical food and ingredients to widen the line of Philippine products shipped to Japan and promote the country as a premier sourcing destination,” Terrado added.

Foodex is known as a major gateway to the Japanese market. Last year the four-day event welcomed over 3,000 local and international exhibitors, as well as more than 82,000 buyers from the food manufacturing, service, distribution  and trading sectors across the global food industry.

Aside from Japan, Foodex is also vastly participated in by buyers from major regions, such as Europe, America, Africa and Australia.

In 2017 17 local firms under the Food Philippines pavilion bagged $7.4 million worth of export sales. For this upcoming participation, Citem seeks to generate at least $10 million in export sales from buyers around the world.

Japan is the Philippines’s largest export destination for fresh foods and the second-largest market for processed food, next to the United States. According to preliminary reports from Philippine Statistics Authority, Japan is among the top export destinations of the country with a 16.42-percent total share to total merchandise exports of the country for the period of January to November 2017.

The Philippines is the world’s second-largest producer of coconut and banana, the 2015 data of the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Agriculture showed.

Meanwhile, the country is also a top global producer of pineapple (third), canned tuna (fourth) and mango (10th), based on a 2013 data of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

With the existing Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, Japan provides an attractive and vast market for Philippine food suppliers to serve the retail, food service and manufacturing industries.

Data from the Japan External Trade Organization also showed Japan’s foreign direct investments in the country reached $724.71 million, while Philippine investment outflows to Japan stood at $14.165 million in the first nine months.

Food Philippines’s participation in the Foodex Japan 2018 is organized by Citem, in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center Tokyo and Philippine Trade Training Center, as one of the DTI’s major efforts to intensify the promotion of Philippine specialty food products in overseas trade shows.

Citem is committed to developing, nurturing and promoting globally competitive small and medium enterprises, exporters, designers and manufacturers by implementing an Integrated Approach to Export Marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.