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Phl packaging industry gears up for growth

MANILA, Philippines - Organizers of a global packaging conference to be held in the country are seeing the need for businesses, particularly in the packaging sector, to prepare in the light of growing Asian economies.

The Central Philippine University (CPU) Packaging Center, presentor of GlobalPack 2012, the largest international packaging conference and trade exhibition in the Philippines, is calling for a new roadmap for export packaging.

CPU has been spearheading the development of packaging in the Philippines and recently established the Packaging Center for Packaging Engineering and Technology. The Center is a combination of the Philippines first specialized School of Packaging Engineering (SPE), and a United Nations-compliant Packaging Testing Lab (PTL) to be formally launched in July 2012.

According to the Center, this roadmap should be designed so that the country may take advantage of the upswing in Asian economies which is projected to grow 6.9 percent this year and 7.3 percent in 2013. Businesses must prepare, opportunities must be identified, and market trends should be tracked, said CPU.

The university said numbers from the National Statistics Office show that packaging exports have been growing steadily since 2009, reaching P163.2 million at the end of 2011. Total merchandise exports amounted to P48 billion at end-2011.

The Iloilo-based CPU center reported that the Philippine packaging industry is in the process of renewing and improving itself with regard to its productivity, competitiveness, and compliance to global standards in response to the call of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to step up the international marketability of local products through improved packaging and shipping methods.

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The government is giving increased emphasis on the importance of proper packaging for products manufactured by small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in order to give local entrepreneurs a fighting chance in international markets. This has been underscored in a recent series of SME-specific activities spearheaded by the DTI and the Center for International Trade Exhibitions and Missions (CITEM), most notably the 2012 Manila FAME Trade Exposition.

For its part, the CPU Packaging Center, in partnership with Systemat-PackEDGE, is bringing together global and local stakeholders in the packaging industry through GlobalPack 2012. The conference aims to discuss these emerging markets, the increasing importance of packaging for exports, as well as new technologies for ecologically-sustainable packages.

Thomas Schneider, president and CEO of the World Packaging Organization, leads the international list of packaging specialists, while Daisy Tañafranca, director of the Packaging Technology Division of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), and Dr. Lejo Braña, the only Filipino named to the International Packaging Hall of Fame, lead the local contingent.

GlobalPack 2012 is scheduled on July 26-27, 2012 at the Sarabia Manor in Iloilo City.

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