CITEM sets sustainable development in motion’ at Manila FAME
(The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The huge success of the recent Manila FAME has brought to the fore a brand and market development system that has helped the lifestyle sector scale new heights in export sales.

The system being implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry’s export promotions arm Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) was also credited for the participation of 400 lifestyle exhibitors and 5,000 foreign and local buyers in Manila FAME, which occupied the entire SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The feat drew praises from Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo and Philippine Exporters Confederation president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., hailing CITEM and the lifestyle design sector for defying a lingering weak demand with export sales of $230 million as of last July, more than half of 2014’s level of $420 million from only $300 million in 2013.

“Even the TPB (Tourism Promotions Board) took advantage of the occasion to introduce its own (Business Is More Fun in the Philippines) campaign on MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conventions and events),” remarked one of the guests.

CITEM’s brand and market development system mostly revolves around knowledge resource generation, processing, distribution and management for effective use by export companies in value engineering.

“CITEM gathers this knowledge resource from market intelligence, or directly from target and captive foreign clients, among others, to yield primary demand and supply data, studies the logistical structures and dynamics of product sales and distribution in almost every potential country and region, dissects market segmentation, product quality, pricing and brand competitions, conducts inventory of market influencers, undertakes alliance building with international entities and Philippine overseas offices, and package all validated information for cascading to the export sector for use in their value chains.  In simple terms, we call it export coaching,”  explained CITEM executive director Rosvi C. Gaetos.

“We also look into their business models and income streams to check out their core competencies, cost-efficiency and potential capacity so as to detect any possible production and operating gaps in the pursuit of export competitiveness,” Gaetos pointed out.

That pursuit emerged prominently at the recent Manila FAME.  “One of the meaningful program highlights of the Manila FAME is the Red Box,” Gaetos added.

The Red Box program culls the cream of the crop from the country’s pool of design professionals, partners them with export manufacturers under the mentorship of Filipino international design icons, and provides them with world market exposure.

The Red Box talents, according to Gaetos, have proven to be a key element in helping export firms operationalize a market-specific and design-forward product development that meets the fast-changing demands of a highly-competitive and volatile world market.  CITEM also provides brand and market development seminars and global exposures to MSMEs.

“It is in this aspect that Philippine participation is very important in well-attended international trade shows and marketing events abroad, to where we always take a select group of exporters to help them expand their products’ geographic reach,” Gaetos explained.

“Initially, some exporters were reluctant to join these international events for fear of antagonizing their foreign distributors. But after a while, the exporters soon realized all they had to do was protect the margins of their distributors and they could expand their markets anywhere in the world,” Gaetos added.

Among CITEM’s noteworthy efforts is its success in marshaling the support of the foreign offices of the Philippines’ various government agencies for its export initiatives.  This phenomenon surfaced at the recent Manila FAME, which inadvertently showcased, not just the stunningly beautiful products of Filipino creativity and craftsmanship, but also CITEM’s system of sustainable development in governance that helped bring them about.

“Again in simple terms, CITEM calls it the ‘Phl Brands In Motion’,” Gaetos says, referring to BrandPhilippines, DesignPhilippines, FashionPhilippines, and Manila Wear, all generated by the system as an end-to-end export marketing solution.

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