Welcome plans for a Turkey business mission to PH in March

DTI led by Sec Lopez meets DEIK Turkey

"There are a lot of similarities between the Philippines and Turkey. And there are also a lot of opportunities for complementation, too." This was the key message of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez when he addressed members of the Dış Ekonomik İlişkiler Kurulu (DEIK) or the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey in Istanbul last February 7.
The DTI Secretary added that these complementarities can potentially leapfrog current trade levels between two of the fastest growing economies in Asia and in Europe.
In 2016, Turkey was the Philippines' 45th trading partner, 45th export market, and 43th import supplier. In 2017 (covering January-November), total trade between two countries hit a significant increase with USD 163 million.
Mr. Ilkem Sahin, who currently chairs the Istanbul based Turkey-Philippine Business Council (PTBC), agreed with Secretary Lopez who opined that trade levels between both countries remained below their potential.
Sahin added that he hopes that the recent convening of the first-ever Philippines-Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCTEC), and the DEIK Roundtable Meeting between Philippine and Turkish business officials, can help double trade figures in the next year or two.
To capitalize on the momentum built by the JCTEC in Ankara, and the productive business engagements in Turkey organised by the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) in partnership with the Philippine Embassy in Ankara, Mr. Sahin announced, in the presence of visiting Philippine-Turkey Business Council (PTBC) Chair, Mr. Ernesto Chua, that the TPBC is spearheading a Turkish Business Mission to the Philippines in March 2018.
DTI Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo, who also presented the opportunities of doing business in the Philippines during the DEIK Forum, underscored possible complementation of the Philippines and Turkey in areas such as fashion (furniture, garments and textiles), food & fruit, family-oriented and faith-based tourism, film development, and fabricated materials (construction) among others.
Undersecretary Rodolfo also added that Turkish companies may consider the Philippines as a production hub to capitalize on market access to its bilateral and multilateral trading partners, such as the US, and the ASEAN+6.
With over 1,000 members all over Turkey, DEIK whose main task is to "conduct foreign economic relations of the Turkish private sector," is currently represented by 94 founding institutions, 136 bilateral business councils, 5 sector-specific business councils, and 2 special purpose business councils.♦


Sec Ramon Lopez at Anitkabir

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez​ paid respects to the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk​, during a wreath laying ceremony at the Anitkabir last 5 February 2018 on the first day of official activities lined up on the occasion of the convening of the first-ever Philippines Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCTEC) meeting.

Secretary Lopez was accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to Turkey, Her Excellency Maria Rowena Sanchez, Philippine non-resident Commercial Attache Froilan Emil Pamintuan​, officals from the Philipoine Embassy in Ankara, and Philippine Turkey Business Council (PTBC) Ernesto Chua who led a Filipino business delegation during the official visit to Turkey.

Secretary Lopez, during the ceremony, said that "with the convening of the First Philippine JCETC in Ankara, my hope, anchored on the vision of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is that our efforts may continue to elevate the livelihood of our people by opening more doors for international business exchanges and cooperation, especially among our emerging enterprises."

The Anitkabir is the memorial tomb of the Atatürk, who was the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the first President of the Republic of Turkey.

After the wreath laying ceremony, Secretary Lopez also signed the Book of Honour at the monument in the presence of distinguished guests.♦

Following President Duterte’s vision to diversify and strengthen the country’s trade and investment relationship with other countries, the Philippines (PH) has revived the Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation with Turkey, followed by a series of fora with ministerial and business chambers in Hungary. The Trade & Investment Mission will be led by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, from February 5 to 9, 2018, which aims to promote as well the exports of more Philippine products to both markets and attract Turkish and Hungarian investors to do business and establish their operations in the country. 

Co-organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) through the International Investments Promotion Service, Philippine Trade & Investment Centers (PTICs) in Paris and Berlin (with jurisdiction on Turkey and Hungary, respectively), and the Philippine Embassies in Ankara and Budapest, the Mission is in conjunction with the inaugural Philippine-Turkey Joint Committee for Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation (PH-TR JCTEC) on February 6, 2018 in Ankara, Turkey. The Framework Cooperation agreement with Turkey was signed in 1999, but the talks have not advanced. 

“The Philippines' engagement with Turkey and Hungary is in line with the current Administration’s strategy of rebalancing investment and trade relations with non-traditional partners through the pursuit of an independent foreign policy. With the country’s solid economic fundamentals built on the upbeat confidence of investors on the Duterte administration’s reforms and programs to create sustainable growth, we are positive of getting more investments from our foreign economic partner countries such as Turkey and Hungary as we continue to promote the country as a prime investment destination,” said Sec. Lopez.

The Trade Secretary is joined by a 6-member delegation from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine-Turkish Business Council, United Architects of the Philippines, Integrated Micro-Electronics Incorporated, Malabon Longlife Trading Corporation, Megawide Airports Group & GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Philippine Food Service Equipment & Supplies and Great Crescent Flour Corporation. 

For the Turkey leg, the delegation will promote construction; manufacturing particularly automotive, electronics, shipbuilding, and aerospace; Halal products; coconut products; personal care and IT Business Process Management, including creatives services—all of which were determined based on the existing priority sectors for trade and investment to Turkey validated by the Turkish Embassy in Manila and PTIC Paris and the Philippine Embassy Ankara.

The BOI represented by Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo, and Turkey’s Prime Ministry Investment Support & Promotion Agency represented by Vice President Mustafa Rumeli, are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on exchanging information on investment environment and opportunities and sharing of experiences in attracting foreign investments as well as best practices in investments promotion. 

The MOU also encourages interested local companies in setting up or expanding their businesses in the area of both participants, and provide support to facilitate inward investment to the extent possible under both parties’ respective laws and policies.

Meanwhile, for the Hungary leg, the delegation will meet with its counterpart led by Minister Peter Szijjarto, promote manufacturing particularly the sub-sectors of machineries, medical devices, automotive parts, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, food and agri-business; infrastructure; and shared services.

The two countries represented by Secretary Lopez and Minister Szijjarto agreed to pursue cooperation in said sectors during the Philippines-Hungarian Economic Cooperation Agreement held last March 28, 2017 in Manila.

Turkey and Hungary are minimal sources of foreign investments in the PH. On the trade side, in 2016, Hungary ranked as the PH’s 40th trading partner, 26th export market, and 64th import supplier. Turkey on the other hand was the country’s 45th trading partner, 45th export market, and 43rd import supplier.♦

 1st PH-Turkey JCETC
(Standing L to R) – DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, Philippine-Turkey Business Council President Ernesto Chua, Turkey-Philippines Business Council Chairman Ilkem Sahin, Turkish Ministry of Economy Deputy Undersecretary Husnu Dilemre
(Seated L to R) – PH Ambassador to Turkey H.E. Maria Rowena Mendoza-Sanchez, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Turkey’s National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli

ANKARA – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez led a delegation to Turkey to convene the first Philippine (PH)-Turkey Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCETC) as well as the signing of Summary of Discussions covering trade, investment promotions, and economic cooperation on 5-6 February 2018.

“The Philippines is committed to pursue several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Turkey,” said Sec. Lopez.

The PH trade chief and his JCETC counterpart, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, who is the Minister designated to represent their government in this meeting, discussed various areas of trade and investment cooperation on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); manufacturing such as textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, agri-processing for mango, coconut, banana; hotels and tourism; infrastructure; air services; customs; energy; science and technology; education; standardization; film and creatives; defense; contracting and consultancy services.

They offer to buy products PH can export to Turkey and shall venture with Filipino partners to manufacture the needed products, such as in textiles and pharmaceuticals. They also offer to provide interest-free financial assistance for any project critical to the country’s development as well as security cooperation.

The meeting also involved dialogues on the ongoing government efforts in rebuilding Marawi and how Turkey, as a pre-dominantly Muslim country, can assist PH on its programs and projects. It included discussions on how Islamic financing can be utilized for those MSMEs affected by the siege. They will study the industries that can be put up in Mindanao and can generate more jobs for the people in Marawi.

Both officials also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Investment Promotion by PH Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and the Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT) President Arda Ermut.

The MOU covered the intention of both parties to exchange best practices as well as information on investment environment and opportunities. Likewise, it encourages local companies to set up and expand their businesses in the partner country.

In 2016, Turkey was PH’s 45th trading partner, 45th export market, and 43th import supplier. In 2017 (covering January-November), total trade between two countries hit a significant increase with USD 163 million.

“Engaging with Turkey is in line with the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to engage with non-traditional trading partners to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between both countries,” said Sec. Lopez. 

The trade chief cited current PH exports to Turkey are still confined mostly to desiccated coconut, personal care products, electronics, and tires. These areas are expected to expand with the renewal of economic ties between the two governments and the direct networking among the private sector business delegates. Several business complementations were identified such as in textiles, tourism, pharmaceutical, and infrastructure development.

“During our discussions, we noticed that there are opportunities for our Philippine exporters—whether manufactured goods or services—to further tap the Turkish market,” he added.

The Turkish market comprises more than 80 million people, with per capita income twice of PH’s, and an 11.1% GDP growth posted during the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, an MOU on the enhancement of cooperation in agriculture—plant production and protection; animal farming, health, and breeding; fisheries and aquaculture; food industry; research; rural development; irrigation and extension service; as well as promotion of joint ventures between private sectors—was signed by PH Ambassador to Turkey Maria Rowena Sanchez and Minister Nurettin Canikli.

Partner Philippines

At the sidelines of the JCETC meetings, DTI met with PH and Turkish business officials through a forum with the Turkish Contractors Association (TCA). Sec. Lopez encouraged Turkish companies to join the PH growth story and partner with the country through infrastructure projects, including President Duterte’s “Build Build Build” program.

The meeting was arranged by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), the Philippine Embassy in Ankara, and the Turkish Ministry of Economy.

The Trade Secretary attended as well a roundtable discussion with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey or the Dış Ekonomik İlişkiler Kurulu (DEİK), a leading business organization based in Istanbul. Currently, the organization is represented by 94 founding institutions, 136 bilateral business councils, 5 sector-specific business councils, and 2 special purpose business councils. There will be an immediate Turkey business and investment mission to the Philippines on March this year.

Also at the roundtable discussion were Philippine-Turkey Business Council Chair Ernesto Chua Co Kiong and his counterpart from the Turkish-Philippine Business Council, Mr. Ilkem Sahin. Both expressed optimism on the future economic relations between the two countries.

Sec. Lopez likewise met with other Turkish companies interested in doing business in the country, such as IS Holding and Elginkan.

IS Holding is keen on having ventures in PH involving low cost mass housing, energy, shipyard development as well as film and content production. Meanwhile, Elginkan expressed their interest to expand its operations in Southeast Asia particularly in the Philippines as their potential manufacturing hub in the region.♦

Malagos named among world's top 50

110317 PH Paris Choco Show 1
(Left photo) Mr. Rex Victor Puentespina waves the Philippine flag with Mr. Val Turtur of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council during the recognition rites of the Top 50 International Cocoa Awards in Paris, France; (Right photo, courtesy of Ms. Dalareich Polot) the Philippine delegation to the Salon du Chocolat-Paris join Mr. Puentespina on stage at the International Cocoa Awards Night last October 30.

PARIS, FRANCE (31 October 2017) -- The maiden participation of seven (7) Filipino micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the 23rd edition of the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, considered the biggest chocolate exhibition in the world, was capped by the selection of Puentespina Farms as one of the TOP 50 producers of cacao beans around the world by the International Cocoa Awards last October 30. 

‪The recognition given to Puentespina Farms is a first for the Philippines in a competition that brought in 166 entries from 40 cacao producing countries.  The samples were "evaluated by 41 chocolatiers and sensory evaluation experts from around the world." 

‪Rex and Jen Puentespina, Farmer/Chocolate Maker, and Managing Director respectively of the same company behind the Malagos brand of chocolates, represented their mother Charita Puentespina during the recognition rites held at the sidelines of the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France.  

Mr. Puentespina, who proudly waved a Philippine flag to honor their hardworking cacao farmers when called on stage said that "the recognition bestowed on our cacao beans grown in Davao, is a testament to the truly world-class quality of products grown and developed in the Philippines by Filipino cacao farmers." 

‪Joining the Puentespinas during the recognition rites were Philippine Cacao Industry Council Chairman Mr. Valente Turtur, representatives from the Philippine Embassy in Paris, the Department of Agriculture, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre in Paris. 

Also present during the recognition rites were representatives from Philippine cacao companies including Auro Chocolate, Ginto Chocolates, Hiraya, Kablon Farms, NutraRich, and Theo and Philo.

Together with Malagos Chocolates, and with funding support provided by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM),  the group showcased their products at the country’s first business-to-business booth ever set up at the Salon du Chocolat which ran in Paris from 28 October to 1 November.  

 110317 PH Paris Choco Show 3
In photo: Ambassador Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro (fifth from left) and  Consul Rapunzel Acop (rightmost) join the official delegation to the Salon du Chocolat at the Philippine Embassy in Paris, France. With them are (from left to right):  Commercial Attache Froilan Pamintuan of PTIC-Paris; Philo Chua of Theo and Philo; Mark Ocampo of Auro Chocolate; Valente Turtur of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council; Ambassador Lazaro; Regional Technical Director Marina Hermoso of the Department of Agriculture Region VII; Rex Puentespina of Puentespina Famrs/Malagos Chocolates; Harleen Jao of Nutrarich; Mrs. Lorina Turtur ; and Consul Acop.

DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investment Promotion Group Nora Terrado, said that "the Philippine participation at the Salon du Chocolat is in line with the DTI's goal of providing relevant global platforms for Filipino enterprises to have access to, and learn from the international market." 

‪"The  business world is changing rapidly, and it is important for government, in collaboration with the private sector, to constantly identify and be part of truly global avenues where new opportunities for emerging niche sectors such as the cacao industry may be tapped or tested," added Usec Terrado.

Almost 120,000 attendees including traders, chocolate makers, chocolatiers and aficionados and more than 230 exhibitors flocked to Hall 5 of the Porte des Versailles for the five-day Salon du Chocolat.
The cacao industry in the Philippines currently produces around 12,000 metric tons of beans annually. It has doubled since the revival of the cacao industry in the early 2000s. The goal of the industry is to produce about 100,000 metric tons of quality beans by 2022.
Apart from merely targeting increasing production, cacao industry players are also taking an active role in helping improve its standards.♦ 
PH Paris Choco Show 4
In photo: The official delegation to the Salon du Chocolat pose before the Philippine booth along with PTIC-Paris Commercial Attache Froilan Pamintuan (third from left) and Eduardo Francisco of PTIC Paris (leftmost). The delegation includes (from left to right): Harleen Jao of NutraRich; Rex Puentespina of Puentespina Farms/Malagos; Pamintuan; Philo Chua of Theo and Philo; Estela Duque of Kablon Farms; Val Turtur of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council; Regional Technical Director Marina Hermoso of the Department of Agriculture Region VII; Joy Angeli Uy of Ginto Chocolates/Bohol; Dalereich Polot of Ginto Chocolates; Laurianne Amacin, stand assistant; Mark Ocampo of Auro Chocolate; Kelly Go of Auro Chocolate; and Francisco.
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