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PH eyes to level up trade, investment and tourism promotions in China, Southeast Asia at 16th CAEXPO

The Philippines seeks to broaden its bilateral relations with China and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in its participation in the 16th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on September 20-23, 2019, at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC) in Nanning, Guangxi Province, China.

CAEXPO 2018 attendees checked out the Philippine Commodity Pavilion to see the country’s export food and lifestyle products. Supplied Photo.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), is organizing a more exciting and bolder country delegation to present the trade, investment and tourism opportunities in the Philippines.

“We are forming a Philippine delegation composed of exporting companies and representatives from the public and private sectors at CAEXPO to promote the best of the Philippines and streamline efforts to strengthen the country’s economic ties with China, ASEAN nations and other partner regions,” said CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.

Part of the delegation are the local companies, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Guangzhou, DTI – Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), DTI – Regional Operations Group (ROG), Board of Investments (BOI) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and other partner local government units (LGUs).

CAEXPO is one of the biggest trade events in China with a 124,000-square meter exhibition space—the only international trade fair in the region dedicated to promoting the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and celebrating regional trade cooperation.  Last year, the four-day event was participated in by more than 2,700 exhibitors and 96,000 buyers and visitors all over the world.

“CAEXPO is an effective platform to showcase the Philippines and foster goodwill with the Chinese government on different levels—trade, tourism and investment promotions,” noted Suaco-Juan. “The Philippines has been participating in this show since its inception in 2004 as it provides many opportunities for local firms which want to capture the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.”

In 2018, the Philippine delegation, composed of 70 companies and trade officials, was able to book 22 million US dollars during the four-day event under the Commodity Pavilion. The top three best-sellers were coconut products, buri bags and tropical fruit snacks, such as vacuum-freeze dried durian, mango and banana chips.

The Philippines stood out from other delegations last year where it was awarded for being the “Best Promotion on Investment Cooperation,” “Best Trade Visitor Organizer,” and “Best City of Charm Pavilion” for its exhibit on Tarlac. CAEXPO organizers also awarded CITEM with the “Outstanding Organizer Award.”

DTI-CITEM seeks to bring around 70 exhibitors in CAEXPO 2019

For 2019, DTI-CITEM targets to bring around 70 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to penetrate the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

The country’s contingent in China will highlight the Philippines’ trade potential through an exhibit of products and commodities from various sectors, including home, fashion and wearables, gifts, handicrafts, personal care, and food.

“Together with our partners, we are confident that we can emulate last year’s success as we seek to elevate the Philippines’ position as a source for high-quality products and services, as well as a premier tourism destination. This is also an opportunity to show our goodwill to our economic partners in China and other Asian neighbors,” explained Suaco-Juan.

Suaco-Juan noted that the Philippines participation in CAEXPO will give the country the access to diverse opportunities for trade and investments in China, which are seen to continuously expand given its Belt and Road Initiative.

DTI-CITEM will also spotlight the cultural tourism and investment priority areas in coordination with the TPB and BOI, as well as relevant investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

China is PH top trading partner for 2018

China is the Philippines’ top trading partner in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). International trade in goods last year with China totaled 182.15 billion US dollars, which is higher than 10.5 percent in 2017, accounting for 16.9 percent of the country’s total trade.

China has also overtaken Japan as the biggest export market for Philippine bananas, buying more than 1.1 million metric tons in 2018.

Currently, the two nations continue to implement expanded bilateral agreements through the Six-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation (2017-2022) which is a joint commitment to further facilitate economic and trade activities.

“We want our MSMEs to take advantage of the improving Philippines-China relations as they benchmark their companies and appreciate the opportunities in the Chinese market where there is an overwhelming demand for healthy foods, marine products, fresh fruits and intermediate goods,” Suaco-Juan noted.

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