18 March 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

TWENTY-FIVE Philippine companies bagged more than $83 million of export sales from over 1,163 foreign buyers when the country joined Gulfood at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 17 to 21, 2019.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), the 25 local food producers and manufacturers showcased the country’s top halal-certified food selections in the country’s 14th participation in the event.

“Our country’s tropical selections once again delighted the palate of buyers across the globe under the Philippine pavilion in Gulfood, one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious events on food,” DTI-CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan said.

The Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire, popularly known as Gulfood, is considered one of the world’s biggest stages where the latest tastes, trends and innovations are unveiled.  It is a trade and business platform that provides immense opportunities to buyers, exhibitors and notable personalities in the food and hospitality industries.

Among the best sellers under the FoodPhilippines pavilion were dried fish (herring and anchovies), fruit preserves, nuts, condiments from Pixcel Transglobal Foods Inc.; fresh banana from SL Agritech; tamarind mix and oyster sauce from Mama Sita’s; canned sardines from Phil-Union Frozen Foods Inc.; and sardines, tuna, frozen fish, canned vegetables and fruits from Mega Global Corp.

Also showcased in the pavilion were products from Alsons Aquaculture Corp., Brandexports Philippines Inc., Celebes Coconut Corp., Century Pacific Food Inc., Columbia International Food Products Inc., Fitrite Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Leonie Agri Corp., LTH Food Industries Inc., Mama Sita’s, Marikina Food Corp., Market Reach International Resources, Monde Nissin Corp., Philippine Grocers Food Exports Inc., Profood International Corp., Q-Phil Products International, Sagrex Foods Inc., San Miguel Pure Foods Co., See’s International Food and Super Q.

“Participating in this five-day event is strategic for us to sustain and strengthen the promotion of Philippine food products in the Middle East and North African [Mena] region, particularly in member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” Suaco-Juan said.

The Philippine participation in Gulfood is also aimed at expanding the country’s market share in the global halal trade. According to Hexa Research, the global halal food market size is predicted to reach $2.55 trillion by 2024, driven by the rising demand for the consumption of halal meat.

“We also invite buyers and food enthusiasts with keen interest in Philippine and other Asian products to taste more of these in the upcoming edition of IFEX Philippines, where we will present the next big thing in Asian food under the theme ‘NXTFOOD Asia,’” she said.

This participation under FoodPhilippines is led by DTI-CITEM as part of the government’s unified effort to promote the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market.

CITEM is the organizer of IFEX Philippines, the country’s biggest export‐oriented food show, happening from May 24 to 26. IFEX Philippines 2019 will present “NXTFOOD ASIA” where it will showcase the next big thing in Asian food with the latest food innovations, trends and best practices in the Asian food industry.

18 March 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez pushed for greater bilateral cooperation on the area of barter trade between the Philippines and Malaysia during his dialogue with Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking on March 8, 2019.

The trade chief said the revival of the barter-trade system in Mindanao will support the promotion of the halal industry from both countries. The ministers also agreed to cooperate in strengthening the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Areas (BIMP-EAGA).

“We should really make these areas of cooperation work to create and bring more economic activities to both Filipinos and Malaysians. The barter trade, as well as the BIMP-EAGA, will mean a lot to our people,” Lopez said.

The trade chief reported the ongoing progress in the revival of the barter-trade system in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas (Basulta) that aims to provide more livelihood and income to small coastal communities, especially in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. He also underscored the Philippines’s potential in the halal industry and the opportunities it offers to Malaysian consumers.

Officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) noted that apart from electronics, top imports from the Philippines include processed food, which could be a strong start for halal promotions.

In 2018 Malaysia was the country’s 10th-largest trading partner, 11th-largest export market and ninth-top import supplier. Total bilateral trade amounted to $6 billion in 2018 compared to $5.5 billion in 2017.

The Department of Trade and Industry will head a delegation in April to attend the Malaysia International Halal Showcase.

“This kind of activities is very important to the Philippines as the country is still beginning to recognize its potentials in the halal industry and would learn much from big economies, like Malaysia,” Lopez added.

Both ministers expressed the need to focus on the development of ASEAN’s subregions, which include the BIMP-EAGA.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian minister expressed his appreciation of Philippine products and home-grown brands like Jollibee, which is currently expanding in Malaysia.

MITI officials also conveyed the interest of many Malaysian companies in participating in the Philippines’s massive infrastructure project, “Build, Build, Build,” as well as the assistance extended to companies intending to invest in the Philippines.

The meeting between Lopez and Leiking followed the visit to the Philippines of Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad last week.

Present during the meeting were DTI Undersecretaries Ceferino Rodolfo and Abdulgani Macatoman, Assistant Secretaries Angelo Taningco and Allan Gepty, Board of Investments International Investments Promotion Service Chief Lanie Dormiendo, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp. (Matrade) CEO Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, Malaysian Investment Development Authority Executive Director for Strategic Planning Zabidi Mahbar, Asean Economic Integration Division of MITI Director Khairulnizam Hashim and Matrade Manila Trade Commissioner Siti Azlina Mohd Ali Hanafiah.

By PhilExport News and Features

18 March 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

 FILIPINO exporters of food and beverage products to the US are advised to make proactive efforts now to update their product labeling to ensure compliance with the new US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules and facilitate the entry of their goods.

Finalized in May 2016, the new US FDA rules comprising formatting changes, updates to serving sizes, daily sizes, daily values and nutrient definitions will be effective on January 1, 2020, for large food businesses. Small businesses will have an additional year to comply.

Large food firms are those grossing at least $10 million in annual sales.

“Food labeling consists of several components. The earlier you begin, the more time you allot for the unexpected and improve the chance of avoiding a surplus of outdated labeling inventory,” said Vijey Ananda, senior regulatory advisor South East Asia at Registrar Corp.

Ananda said the mandated updates to daily values for certain nutrients, such as dietary fiber, will require food manufacturers to readjust certain daily values on their labels. They also need to account for the daily values of vitamin D and potassium, which will be new “The product may need to be reformulated with more fiber or the claim will need to be removed from the product labeling by the deadline,” Ananda said.

Food manufacturers are urged to have a registered regulatory specialist review their redesigned food labels before printing in compliance with new FDA requirement. Registrar Corp helps businesses comply with US FDA regulations.

By John Derrick Anchinges | Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD) | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

18 March 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

WHETHER you are an overseas company looking to establish business relations with Philippine suppliers or a local exporter searching for buyers or clients abroad, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) has you covered.

EMB plays an indispensable role in empowering Philippine exporters by providing them the necessary platforms and tools that enable them to be part of the global supply chain. The EMB, mandated to oversee the development and promotion of Philippine exports, ensures that all programs, resources and initiatives offered by the government pertinent to the strategic expansion of Philippine exports are made accessible and inclusive to its stakeholders. These services include, but are not limited to, trade facilitation, business matching, export accreditation, trade complaint handling, market consultancy and export knowledge processing.

EMB’s business-matching service, in particular, provides an important opportunity in advancing the competitiveness of Philippine export products and services. The Bureau endeavors to provide professional guidance to its stakeholders in navigating the vast and intricate network of businesses across the global market and break new grounds internationally.

The EMB is single-minded in its campaign to promote the best of the Philippines to the world. It works in close collaboration with trade associations, Philippine embassies abroad, and Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) offices overseas to make certain that trade leads and business-matching opportunities are readily available to its clients and partners.

The EMB, through its Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD), assists micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by equipping them with the requisite export knowledge and entrepreneurial insights to ensure that Philippine commodities are of first-class quality and comply with the necessary international standards and certifications.

Direct inquiries from foreign buyers and trade opportunities reported by trade representatives abroad are available for reference at the DTI-EMB office in Makati, Metro Manila.

For business-matching opportunities, exporters may contact DTI-EMB through e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or telephone: (02) 465-3300 local 102/104, (02) 897-7610.

Equally important, the Bureau, through the assistance of our PTICs and international partners, facilitate and organize trade shows, exhibits, and outbound and inbound business missions. Business missions are focused expeditions where Philippine suppliers are set to meet with foreign buyers abroad, and vice versa, to negotiate and conduct business. Trade shows, meanwhile, are exhibitions where companies in specific industries demonstrate and showcase their newest products and services, explore the latest market trends and opportunities, and engage in face-to-face business-matching meetings. To signify interest in joining these missions, please contact (02) 465-3300 local 216, 228, 230.

Tradeline Philippines, a trade- intelligence platform of the DTI-EMB, boasts of a real-time business-matching system where foreign buyers’ requirements are matched with Philippine suppliers online. This program equips the Bureau with the essential apparatus to maintain an integrated export intelligence structure that covers all dimensions of export marketing.

To be part of our database, you can register your company as either buyer or supplier at

For further inquiries on trade statistics and online business matching, please visit

By Franclem Peña | Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD) | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

23 February 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THERE is a growing prevalence on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution systems internationally. ADR is an out-of-court cost-effective way of settling conflicts, offering lower costs or in some cases, free of cost, shorter period for dispute resolutions, and in most cases, preservation of relationships. It covers different processes, including arbitration, conciliation and mediation, among others.

The Philippines institutionalized the use of an alternative resolution system in the country through Republic Act 9285 or the “Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004” which was enacted on April 2, 2004.

However, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had already established its export trade complaints resolution process, through mediation, even before the enactment of this law.

As the DTI is matching both Philippine-based exporters and foreign buyers, it also promotes ethical business practices to further enhance the image of the country as a reliable supplier for goods and services in the global market. But like other business endeavors, conflicts may also arise from export trade transactions, which if remains unresolved, will seriously affect the image of the Philippines as a reliable source of goods and services. Hence, the need for a speedy resolution of export trade complaints through out-of-court settlement process, particularly mediation.

Since its creation in 1993, free mediation service is being continuously offered to both exporters and foreign buyers by the Export Trade Complaints Committee (ETCC), a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership that still exists and operates until now.

The ETCC is composed of the director of the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (formerly the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion) or his alternate as its chairman, with the director of DTI Legal Service (formerly Office of Legal Affairs) and a representative from the private sector, the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), the umbrella organization of Philippine exporters, as members. The DTI-EMB Export Assistance and Business Matching Division (EABMD) serves as the ETCC Secretariat, which is composed of trained Mediation Officers.

The ETCC is governed by a DTI department administrative order creating said committee and prescribing the guidelines in the dispute resolution process. The DAO had undergone several revisions to address the recent developments in international trade and to further strengthen the DTI’s effectiveness in resolving export trade complaints.                

The process of revising the current DAO started in 2018, whereby a public consultation was conducted in order to engage the export industry stakeholders in crafting an effective and efficient trade dispute resolution mechanism. The revised DAO will be published and implemented this year.

The new DAO will only apply to disputes relating to export trade transactions involving exportable goods and services from the Philippines, including but not limited to (1) nonpayment of delivery; (2) nondelivery of paid order; (3) canceled letter of credit order; (4) short shipment; (5) noncompliance to quality specification; (6) unjustified nonperformance of contractual obligations.

All export trade complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant, and may be in electronic document form. The complaint may be filed personally, by mail, or by electronic means. Copies of pertinent documents supporting the complaint must be attached to the complaint. Complaints may be filed with the DTI-EMB any DTI Office, DTI attached agencies, or the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) abroad.

ETCC findings are classified into: (1) Dismissed—if there is failure to substantiate the allegations of the complaint or lack of basis to hold respondent liable for the complaint; (2) Settled—if an amicable settlement between the parties was reached through the intervention of the ETCC; (3) Watch listing—notwithstanding the outcome of the mediation proceeding, watch listing may be effected based on the following grounds: (a) The respondent used a fictitious name or address; (b) The respondent is involved in two (2) or more export trade complaints; or (c) There is a substantial finding, based on past and present complaints, that the acts complained of would seriously affect the image of the Philippines as a reliable supplier of goods or services.

Copies of the DTI DAO on ETCC and the DTI Watchlist of Exporters and Foreign Buyers are available at and

The ETCC and its secretariat may be contacted through e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or office landline (+632) 465-3300 local 109 or 110.

Their office address is DTI Export Marketing Bureau, Ground Floor, DTI International Building, 375 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Philippines 1200.

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