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CITEM urges food firms to explore China market

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is calling on food companies to explore opportunities in China by being part of the Philippine delegation in the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE).

In a statement, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) said it is forming a delegation of 50 food exhibitors to take part in business-to-business meetings with foreign counterparts at the CIIE which will be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai on Nov. 5 to 10.

“For this year’s participation, the Philippines aims to strengthen its relationship with China by once again focusing on promoting its trade and investment packages. We are doing this by continuing to emphasize to the global market that the Philippines is a viable source of quality and innovative products and services,” CITEM executive director Pauline Suaco-Juan said.

“We encourage food companies to join our delegation and take advantage of China’s commitment to import more high-quality agricultural products including tropical fruits from the Philippines,” she added.

The CIIE is considered a good platform to penetrate and cater to the growing Chinese market.

Last month, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman emeritus Francis Chua said he finds it difficult, however, to convince many of the members of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. or Philfoodex to join the CIIE this year.

He said last year’s experience at the CIIE is affecting the interest to participate in this year’s event.

While the Philippines requested to get 150 booths at the CIIE last year, it was unable to secure all booths and firms had to share booths even when they paid to get one each due to the limited space available with strong interest from various countries to participate.

“We would like to see what happens here whether it is more friendly. If it is friendly, next year, we will be there full force,” Chua said earlier.

The Philippine delegation had 57 exhibitors which featured products and services including snacks, alcoholic beverages, coconut, mango, nuts, chocolates, coffee, cosmetics, baby care, electronic products, automotive products, culinary tour packages, as well as franchising and education services, and generated $124 million worth of sales from the CIIE last year.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said earlier, the Philippines would want to double last year’s $124 million worth of sales when it joins the CIIE again this year.

He said doubling last year’s sales would be possible if the Philippines can get 100 firms to participate this year.

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