By Manuel Ang


From May 17 to 20 a South Korean delegation of large food com panies visited the Philippines to source products from the International Food Exhibit (Ifex) and to conduct a trade facilitation workshop for Philip pine food exporters and small and me dium enterprises (SMEs).


The workshop featured three expert speakers from the Korean food industry. These speakers held the workshop to help Philippine food exporters build better capabilities for penetrating the Korean food market. The first expert speaker came from CJ Freshway, and he spoke about how a large Korean seafood company sources seafood from overseas.


The second speaker came from Daesang Corp., the second largest food company in Korea. Daesang spoke about how a large Korean agricultural company sources agricultural and food products from overseas.


The third speaker came from CJ Cheiljedang, which is the largest food company in Korea. CJ spoke about packaging trends, technology and Korean packaging requirements for food products.


The three speakers were part of a larger 11-member delegation of Korean food companies, organized by the Asean Korea Center, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Embassy in Korea, and supported by the Korean Embassy in the Philippines. These 11 companies included the top 2 largest food companies in Korea, and the whole delegation combined had annual corporate revenues in excess of $12 billion.


More than 150 Philippine SME exporters attended the workshop in the morning of May 20. After lunch, the workshop continued with business -to – business (B2B) sessions between Korean food buyers and Philip pine food exporters.


Koreans are very receptive to Philippine food products as these are considered clean (pollution and food-safety issues-free), and familiar (with the increasing numbers of Korean tourists coming to the Philippines every year and being familiar with local food products. Local exporters need to develop a better supply process on what Korea wants and requires. Hence, the reason for the workshop, which brings Korean food industry experts to directly inform Philippine food exporters regarding what exactly the Korean food market needs and requires, be it in terms of trade processes and documentation requirements, food additives and processing standards, packaging requirements, all the way to Korean consumer taste preferences and trends.


The workshop was also attended by Asean Korea Center Secretary-General and Ambassador Kim Young-sun and Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin.


The delegation schedule in Manila, including the workshop and B2B sessions, was organized by the Philippine DTI, represented by Commercial Counsellor Emmanuel Ang and Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada. •