Legacy Immortalized: Legendary Tattoo Artist Whang-Od nominated as PH’s National Living Treasure in Manila FAME


Whang-Od Oggay, the last mambabatok of Buscalan, Kalinga and the oldest tattoo artist in the Philippines, has been formally nominated for the Gawad sa Manglilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) or the National Living Treasure Award last Oct. 20 of Manila FAME at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.

Held during Manila FAME’s KATHA Awards and Networking Night, the nomination was led by Acting Governor of Kalinga James Edduba. It was then received by Elamae Membrer, Committee on Northern Cultural Communities secretary of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Sub-commission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts.

Manila FAME is the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Apo Whang-Od was also the honored guest in the launch of the Joint Promotion of Trade and Tourism by the DTI, through CITEM, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Manila FAME on October 21, which was culminated with a fashion-dance show, featuring a Whang-Od inspired garment to honor the country’s 100-year old legendary tattoo artist.

“CITEM is honored to announce that the nomination of Whang-Od Oggay to the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) or the National Living Treasures Award, institutionalized through Republic Act No. 7355, was accepted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA),” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon.

NCCA is the Philippine government’s highest policy-making and coordinating body for culture and the arts. Through the agency’s GAMABA Committee and an Ad Hoc Panel of Experts, will then conduct the evaluation, with a program that ensures the transfer of skills and promotes genuine appreciation of our heritage.


pic2NCAA’s Elamae Membrere (L) receiving the formal nomination of Whang-Od Oggay from Kalinga Gov. James Edduba


pic3From left to right: Ilyang Wigan, Whang-Od Oggay, and Grace Palicas during the KATHA Awards and Networking Night.


Institutionalized through Republic Act No. 7355, The GAMABA recognizes citizen engaged in any traditional art uniquely Filipino whose distinctive skills have reached such a high level of technical and artistic excellence and have been passed on to and widely practiced by the present generation in his/her community with the same degree of technical and artistic competence.

“Apo Whang-Od’s participation in Manila FAME was a tremendous collaborative effort of various government agencies. These include the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Army who ensured her safety prior to and during her travel to Manila and back,” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon.

Tugonon also added: “Whang-Od’s comprehensive care prior to and throughout her participation and travel back to Kalinga was done by a dedicated medical team lead by Dr. Miguel Ramos, head of the Department of Health’s National Geriatric Hospital, Geriatric Medicine consultant of the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, National Center for Geriatric Health, and St. Luke’s Medical Center Security.”

Tugonon said that the invitation of Apo Whang-Od was sought through proper channels which include the Kalinga community of elders (Whang-Od included), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, concerned local government units, Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry Regional offices.

With a focus on celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines, Manila FAME showcased the unique art of the pagbabatok or traditional tattooing in a variety of show features. Whang-Od and her successors Grace Palicas and Ilyang Wigan conducted live tattoo sessions during the first two days of the show as part of a centerpiece setting.

“CITEM would like to thank all of its partner agencies, supporters, visiting guests in Manila FAME for making this edition a remarkable success,” Tugonon expressed.

Tugonon also clarified that all proceeds from the tattoo of Whang-Od and her successors during the event were completely handled by the Kalinga elders.

Whang-Od is the only living traditional tattoo master in Kalinga with the honorable title of Mambabatok. She started practicing the art of the pagbabatok or the traditional tattoo as a young girl and was said to have tattooed the most number of warriors and headhunters in their tribe. Today, she has two successors, her grandnieces Grace Palicas and Ilyang Wigan, ensuring that the unique tattoo art of Kalinga would continue on for another generation.

Her tattoos have garnered recognition both locally and internationally as hundreds of tourists from around the world visited her village, seeking for her. At 100 years old, she still does tattoos for visitors on a daily basis.

“Apo Whang-Od’s impact extends farther than her village. Her presence   brought  new   life   in  appreciating   our   traditional art sand   she   now   stands   as   the   living   embodiment   of   the   Philippine culture’s unwavering resilience against the test of time,” said Gov. Edduba. “I can’t think   of  anyone   more   deserving   of  recognition   than Apo Whang-Od.”




Former OFW uplifts Cordillera farmers into exporters

GDME Fruits and Vegetables leads PH highland farmers to global market

cordillera-farmers-1.jpgOVERLOOKING carrot and romaine fields in one of the highland vegetable terraces of Maria’s Farm, situated on over 2,000 above sea level (ASL) in the town of Mangkayan, Benguet.

The province of Benguet has been making a mark in the international market as a premier sourcing hub of high-end agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, and other highland crops.

With more than half of its residents or 100,000 farmers toiling on more than 30,000-hectare farms scattered in vegetable-producing towns, Benguet is living up to its moniker of being the “Salad Bowl of the Philippines.”

But the farmers from the province, including most areas in the Cordillera, has yet to realize their full market potential in the lucrative export industry. This contributes to the economic disadvantage of Cordilleran farmers as the region’s agriculture sector have the least contribution to their economy, despite employing 46 percent of the labor force or 348,000 of its total 766,000 abled bodies.

“The lack of drive from our farmers to export much of it has got to do with their local and limited mindset,” said Maricel Hernaez. “Many of our farmers in the Cordillera are producing crops with the idea of harvesting it only either for their own household consumption or for selling at the local vegetable trading post.”

Philippine fruits and vegetables from highland to overseas

A former overseas filipino worker (OFW), Hernaez came back to the Philippines with a dream: to abolish the domestic-centric mindset of the Cordillera farmers and help them penetrate the international market.

Born and raised in a farming family in Cordillera, her life-mission sprung during her service as a domestic helper for five years in Singapore, where she has keenly followed the sky-rocketing prices and huge demand for highland fruits and vegetables.

cordillera-farmers-2.jpgMs. Maricel Hernaez, owner of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading.

Grabe ang taas ng presyo ng gulay sa Singapore, for example nalang ‘yung isang malaking patatas minsan umaabot ng two dollars at pati ‘yung cabbage nasa mahigit one dollar ang 250 grams. Dito sa Pilipinas, nasa limang piso lang ang patatas na malalaki at yung cabbage, isang kilo na katumbas ng one dollar mo,” she shared. “Kung produkto lang naman ang paguusapan, competitive ang galing sa Pilipinas pagdating sa laki at kalidad.

During her final working year in Singapore, Hernaez met up with the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) in Singapore to seek guidance on her plan to become a vegetable and fruit exporter. In March 2015, she came back to the Philippines and immediately established her company, GDME Fruits and Vegetables Trading, taking inspiration from her farmer parents: Gilbert Domerez (father) and Mercy Espara (mother).

“My parents who made a living through farming have inspired me to pursue this dream,” she elated. “They are the foundation of my goal of nurture the country’s agri-export market by tapping the promising farmings groups and communities in Cordillera.”

A tall order

Having no farmland to call her own, Hernaez has been operating GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading for the past two years as its sole networking, monitoring, and marketing officer for farming communities across Benguet.

Through her networking with the Benguet farmers, it has always been a challenge for her to explain, innovate, and change some of their farming methods and even their products to suit the demand of the global market.

“Going one by one with the farmers, I always explain that we have the tools to compete with other countries. We are situated at a higher elevation with the perfect soil and climate. Most importantly, our farmers are hard-working,” she stressed. “But, I tell them we should comply with food standards and certifications. I also encourage them to plant the crops that are in-demand because if we plant crops that no one wants to buy then it will just go to waste.”

Without a formal academic background in agriculture, she has always been looking for fresh ideas and new ways on how to improve her technical know-how on the export industry by attending seminars and partnering with government agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“I never missed opportunities where I can learn new things. Last May, I joined IFEX Philippines, together with our Benguet farmers, where we encountered people who are willing to help us grow,” Hernaez said. “We were also glad to meet foreign buyers that are really interested in our fruits and vegetable products.”

Now, GDME Fruits and Vegetables Trading has already partnered and is consolidating the harvest of more than 60 farmers in communities located in the municipalities of Kibungan, which is considered the “Little Alaska of the Philippines,” Mankayan, and Kabayan.

Among her community partners are the Bosingan Multi-purpose Cooperative, Mankayan Young Farmers, Maria’s Farm, and the Bashoy Kabayan Multi-purpose Cooperative.

cordillera-farmers-3Hernaez points to one of the field of Maria’s Farm where a variety of crops are planted all year round, such as potatoes, cabbages, carrots, romaine, and radish.

Fresh from the highlands, they offer various strains of potato, radish, carrot, chayote, cucumber, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, romaine zucchini, sugar beets, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, onion leeks, snow peas, and green beans.

cordillera-farmers-4.jpgPatches of sugarloaf cabbages at Maria’s Farm.

“In our farm, we are able to grow fruits in bigger sizes. For instance, in our cabbagesm, we are cultivating the scorpio F1 hybrid and sugarloaf varieties. When fully grown, these varieties are able to reach an average net weight of 2 kilograms each, while your regular lowland cabbage varieties only reaches 1 kilograms each. It’s twice the size,” she said.

Its partner farmers are also cultivating strawberry, lemon, parsley, cilantro, kale, mint, basil, alfalfa, arugula, red radish, young corn, fennel leaves, and okra.

They also have some of the iconic Cordillera processed goods, such as sweet and sour chili sauce, strawberry jam, peanut butter, and kimchi.

cordillera-farmers-5Fresh, newly uprooted potatoes.

Hernaez said an exporting farmer will be able to earn at least 15 pesos more per kilo of their products. She added: “Some might even go double the price when depending on their reception on our quality and demand.”

“With these products, we are targeting the demand in Singapore and other nearby ASEAN countries, as well as those in the Middle East,” she added. “We are also open to offers from other buyers across the globe that can be beneficial to the livelihood of our farmers.”

Benguet farmers moving forward


While the high elevation ensures its quality, the highland fruits and vegetables are also prone to risks of climate change, making its price highly volatile.

“We know that there is a demand for our agricultural products, but the next step is how we can corner that demand? With our talks with people that we met on IFEX Philippines, we should be able to do it if we set our fruits and vegetables at stable prices and produce them at a sustainable rate. It’s a challenge for us here in the highland considering the ever-changing weather conditions,” said Hernaez.

Faced with this predicament, Hernaez is trying to hit two birds in one stone in creating a viable year-round crop rotation system: working on identifying the in-demand varieties crops that are also tolerant to extreme weather and those that are resistant to pests and diseases.

“With this method, we also can minimize the use of synthetic chemicals and inputs, or apply good farming practices which involve the balanced application of organic and chemical inputs,” she explained.

The former OFW also continues to widen her network to increase their product supply and selection and open more avenues of growth for other small-scale farming communities.

At the same time, she is helping Benguet farmers secure the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, an export standard promoted by the ASEAN community and is unanimously recognized globally.

Out of the 78 GAP-certified farms in the Philippines, only 4 farms are from Cordillera.

According to the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (DA-BAFS), GAP Certification ensures that a farm is not only in the quality of his crops, but in all aspects of farming.

cordillera-farmers-7Fifty-nine-year old farmer, Dolores Igme, shows their jumbo-sized winter melon or ash gourd. Igme is one of the farmers supported under the export initiative of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading.

The GAP standard requires a scrutiny of the history of the farm site and its prior use; the type of soil, and its compatibility with crops and seed sources; the judicious use of pesticides and fertilizers, whether chemical or organic; the sources of potable water for irrigation and washing of crops; the harvest and post-handling procedures; the health and hygiene of the farmer and handlers, and other factors.

“Gusto kong makita sa mga farmers if they can eat their products raw and fresh, ‘yun na kasi uso din because there are a lot of vegetarians. ‘Yung iba kasi they have a lot of pesticide to the point na hindi na pwede makain kasi maamoy or matapang yung chemicals. At least with GAP [certification], we can be one stop closer to this goal,” she said.

Aside from GAP certifications, GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading is also working to secure Halal certifications for the small-scale farmers as they are targeting the demand for halal fruits and vegetables in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai and U.A.E.

Though the Philippine National Standards for Halal (PNS 2067: 2008), Halal products are at par with international standards to enhance the competitiveness of local industries, and to ensure product quality and safety for the consumers.

“GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading is committed to prime Cordilleran farmers to become export-ready in the global market so that they would grow together with the company and the booming Philippine food industry,” she said.

If you are interested on premium fruits and vegetables from Benguet, please contact Ms. Maricel Hernaez (Owner of GDME Fruits and Vegetable Trading) at 0950-525-1170 or e-mail her at gdmetrading@gmail.com.

ASEAN seafood firms urged to make waves in IFEX Philippines 2018

DTI-CITEM invites Southeast Asian firms to exhibit in PH’s 1st seafood export trade showsoutheast-asian-firms

The export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) invites seafood companies in Southeast Asia to join the first special edition of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines to be held on 25-27 May 2018 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM).

Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), IFEX Philippines is the country’s biggest and most respected food show for Asian heritage food and ingredients. It is the premier export event for emerging micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as esteemed large companies.

Previously held every two years, IFEX Philippines 2018 repositions as an annual event staging a special edition that focuses on the fast-growing seafood industry in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community, featuring the theme “The Best of the Seas.”

“We are now accepting applications for those who want to join the special seafood edition of IFEX Philippines,” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon. “It is the prime venue for ASEAN firms to drumbeat their brands, build a strong presence, expand their customer base, and benchmark their performance in the global market.”

As one of the official business events in the 30th ASEAN Summit, the recently concluded IFEX Philippines opened more trade opportunities and innovations in Southeast Asia with the participation of companies from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The three-day event was attended by nearly 11,000 international and local visitors, including 2,057 high-profile trade buyers from top global retail giants and supermarkets. These buyers came from different regions across the globe, such as Europe, China and SARs, Middle East, East Asia, America and Southeast Asia.

The IFEX 2017 edition surpassed its targets with $184.69 million (roughly P 9.23 billion) worth of export sales from 674 international and local exhibiting companies.

Among 12 product sectors in the event, seafood and marine products emerged as the top-earner, netting one-third or 33 percent of the total earnings with $61.79 million (roughly Php3.08 billion) export sales.

tunaTuna is the top-grossing product in the 11th edition of IFEX Philippines.

“In line with the Philippines’ chairmanship of this year’s ASEAN, IFEX Philippines will elevate efforts to achieve inclusive, innovation-led growth in Southeast Asia.,” explained Tugonon.

He added: “Following the huge demand in the previous show, we want to strengthen ASEAN’s market leadership in the global seafood market, especially since the fishing industry has been identified as one of the ASEAN’s twelve priority integration sectors.”

Based on a 2017 report of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, the ASEAN region contributed approximately 21.6% of the world’s marine production with increasing trend from 16.9 million metric tons (MT) in 2000 to 42.2 million MT in 2014, or an average increase of 1.8 million MT per year or 6.8% annually.

Indonesia consistently contributed the highest portion at 20.6 million MT or nearly 49% of the region’s total production, followed by Viet Nam, Myanmar and Philippines at 6.3 million MT (15%), 5.0 million MT (12%), and 4.7 million MT (11%), respectively.

“By staging an ASEAN seafood show, we want MSMEs to attract more buyers through our business-matching program and contribute more to the global supply chain of seafood products,” Tugonon said. “We also would like to inspire innovation with engaging conferences.”

Invited to exhibit in the three-day event are local and international seafood producers, processors, and traders, as well as companies in allied industries, from 10 ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

“We also invited those companies from countries that are key trading partners of the Philippines. This includes the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Norway, and Papua New Guinea,” Tugonon noted.

Local and foreign visitors of IFEX Philippines are comprised of importers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, consolidators, trading firms, retail chains, hoteliers and restaurateurs, airlines, ship chandlers, commissaries, caterers, service providers, and health and fitness specialists/consultants.

The 12th edition of IFEX Philippines is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with support from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Interested parties may contact Ms. Leilani Santiago at 831-2201 local 263; or send an inquiry at lsantiago@citem.com.ph.

PH tropical fruits, seafood headline in world’s biggest food fair

DTI-CITEM steps up ‘Premium 7’ export drive in Anuga 2017

premium-7Coconut, banana, pineapple and mango are among the country’s ‘Premium 7’ export food commodities that wil be featured in Anuga 2017 on October 7-11 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The Philippines’ finest tropical fruits and marine products will take center stage in the much-awaited Anuga, the world’s largest food fair, to be held on October 7-11 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

Led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the FoodPHILIPINES pavilion in Anuga will spotlight the country’s ‘Premium 7’ food export commodities, which includes coconut, pineapple, mango, banana, coffee, cacao and tuna—all in different varieties, cultivars, and packaging presentation.

“Buyers are welcomed to visit the FoodPHILIPPINES pavilion in Anuga and sample the Philippines’ finest export food and ingredients,” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon. “Chosen for their market versatility, global demand and export performance, the ‘Premium 7’ food group strategically fulfills the ever-growing demand for distinct tropical products in the European market.”

Located in the Koelnmesse Hall 1 (D-042g to E-049g), the FoodPHILIPPINES pavilion will also offer free tasting of tropical fruit beverages, cakes and confectioneries, noodles, salmon, polvoron (powdered milk candy), sardines, bagoong (shrimp paste), and other condiments.

Based on a Eurostat data, countries in the European Union (EU) has imported €19.1 billion worth of fruit and vegetables in 2015. Fruit imports dominated the vegetables, accounting for 88.4 % of the total volume. Among the highly sought-after fruits were banana, mango, and pineapple.

High fruit import demand in EU is largely due to the widespread whole foods diet and growing health consciousness in the region. A 2014 data from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) shows that 51.4 percent or more than half the population in EU eats one to four portions of fruit and vegetables daily, while 14.1 % consumes more than five portions per day.

In the United Kingdom, one-third (33.1%) of the population consumed more than five daily portions, in Denmark it was 25.9%, and in the Netherlands 25%.

Fresh tuna is also a high-valued product in the European market. Netherlands-basedtuna Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) said EU countries recorded a five percent annual increase in fresh tuna imports from 2011 to 2015.

In 2015, European countries imported a total of € 142 million of fresh tuna. Yellowfin tuna was imported the most (€ 59 million), followed by Albacore (€ 34 million).


19 PH firms exhibit in largest food fair

Among the 19 local companies that are part of the Philippines’ delegation, four firms that will debut in Anuga are Green Enviro Management Systems with their Philippine-patented mango flour products, gluten-free pasta, and pastries; Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc. with the homegrown polvoron (powdered milk candy), Republic Biscuit Corporation with their branded biscuits, candies, snacks, cakes, wafers, chocolates, nuts, ice cream, and Seabest Food and Beverage Corporation with their dried fruits, juices, and purees.

Meanwhile, making a comeback in the five-day event are Alliance Select Foods International Inc., Amley Food Corporation, B-G Fruits & Nuts Mfg. Corp., Brandexports Philippines Inc., Century Pacific Food, Inc., KLT Fruits, Inc., Mega Global Corporation, Phil. Grocers Food Exports Inc., Pixcel Transglobal Foods, Inc., Prime Fruits International Inc., Profood International Corporation, Q-Phil Products International, Sagrex Foods Inc., Seatrade Canning Corporation, and See’s International Food Mfg. Corp.

Held every two years, Anuga presents a combination of 10 specialized trade shows under one roof, showcasing the diverse product selection in the global food industry. This year, around 160,000 visitors are expected to join the five-day event to check out the latest and most innovative products from around 7,200 exhibitors across the globe.

CITEM primes PH exporters for EU market

“With Anuga as a promising platform, penetrating the European market is equally challenging as it is rewarding for our local companies with all the strict requirements and standard compliance that needs to be met,” Tugonon stressed. “That is why we are moving to upgrade the knowledge-based of our local companies on the current market trends and innovative product packaging that is geared for the European market.”

Last month, CITEM initiated a seminar on “EU Labeling Requirements based on Regulation No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council,” in coordination with the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).

The seminar was attended by the 18 participants from 8 companies (See’s International Food Manufacturing Corp., KLT Fruits Inc., Kitchen Witchery Food Ventures Inc., Mega Fishing Corporation, Goldilocks, B-G Fruits and Nuts Manufacturing Corp., Magic Melt Foods Inc., and Brand Exports Philippines Inc.) who will participate in ANUGA FOOD FAIR 2017 with the theme “Taste the Future.”

During the seminar, Engr. Menandro Ortego of PTTC discussed the detailed labeling requirements for the EU market and DTI-Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR) Director Ann Claire Cabochan emphasized the benefits under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), and oriented the exhibitors on the website of the EU Export Help Desk for the tariff code of their respective products.





PH keen to expand EU food exports in Anuga with GSP+ edg

DTI-CITEM targets $62M export sales in world’s biggest food fair

coconut-oilCoconut oil is one of the products featured in the FoodPHILIPPINES pavilion in Anuga on October 7-11. It is the third most shipped product to EU countries in 2016, with total export sales of $551.39 million

The export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to further expand the trade relationship between the Philippines and the European Union (EU) as it leads a delegation of food exporters in Anuga on October 7-11 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

The Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is set to feature the country’s export-competitive products from 19 food companies under the FoodPHILIPPINES industry brand.


“The Philippines’ participation in Anuga is part of DTI’s overarching efforts to step up the export drive in EU member states and take advantage of the Philippines’ zero tariff privileges under the EU’s current Generalized System of Preferences Plus or GSP+ scheme,” said CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon.

Known as the world’s largest and most important food and beverage fair, Anuga presents a combination of 10 specialized trade shows under one roof, showcasing the diverse product selection in the global food industry. This year, around 160,000 visitors are expected to join the five-day event to check out the latest and most innovative products from around 7,200 global exhibitors.

In 2015, 35 Philippine companies netted $67.7 million export sales in Anuga. For 2017, DTI-CITEM is targeting $62 million.

“Despite coming with a smaller delegation, we are not pulling any stops with our high export target. We have carefully selected 19 food companies that are primed for the European market, each capable of showcasing the best of what the Philippines have to offer,” said Tugonon.

Aside from food tasting activities, the Philippine delegation will also participate in business-matching activities during the event.

The EU is ranked as the Philippines’ 4th largest trading partner, 3rd largest import source, and 4th largest export market.

In 2016, the Philippines’ external trade in goods with the EU states totaled to $13.713 billion or 9.7 percent share of the country’s total trade, based on data of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Exports to the EU reached $6.970 billion or 12.1 percent of the total export receipts, while imports were valued at $6.743 billion or 8 percent share to total import, resulting to a balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) surplus of $227.74 million.

Among the EU-member countries, Germany is the Philippines’ top trading partner with a total trade of $4.357 billion or 31.8 percent of EU’s total trade. Revenue from export to Germany amounted to $2.329 billion while payments for imports were worth $2.028 billion or a trade surplus of $301.32 million

Within the EU, ninety percent of EU-Philippine trade is concentrated among eight EU member-states—Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Denmark.

As of now, the Philippines is enjoying a special trade arrangement and incentives with European countries as one of the 30 countries listed under EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP). Under the EU GSP, developing countries can export goods with reduced tariffs entering the EU to stimulate economic growth and job creation in their economies. The Philippines avail itself of the zero preferential duties on 6,274 products going to EU states.

FoodPHILIPPINES is the industry brand for the food sector which unifies the overseas promotional efforts of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Under this industry brand, the Philippines is positioned as Asia’s most exciting sourcing destination for food exports, being one of the world’s top exporters of tropical fruits and marine products.

42 PH firms eye export deals in China

Food, home and fashion exporters join PHL delegation at CAEXPO

caexpo-pr-3-img1Banana, coconut, pineapple and mango are included in the premier tropical fruits in the Philippines pavilion at the 14th CAEXPO.

Forty-two (42) exporters will join the Philippines’ delegation in the upcoming 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on September 12-15, as part of strengthened promotional efforts to create more trade and investment opportunities in the Chinese market.

The Philippines delegation at CAEXPO will be led by the Department of Trade and Industry-Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), in partnership with the Provincial Government of Aurora, Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Board of Investments (BOI), the Department of Agriculture – Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and the technical working group (TWG) of the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP).

“We have handpicked over 40 export-competitive companies from the food and lifestyle sectors across the Philippines,” said DTI-CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon. “They are all eager to corner the overwhelming demand for healthy food, marine produce, fresh fruits, and culinary ingredients in one of the world’s largest economies.”

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), China ranked as the country’s fourth top export destination, with merchandise deliveries in 2016 ending nearly flat at $6.19 billion from $6.17 billion in 2016.

Among the Philippines food exports that will be exhibited in China are Cavendish banana and banana chips; coconut preserves and by-products; durian; cacao; coffee; sugar; pili nuts; milkfish, sardines, and tuna; and other food supplements. Meanwhile, home and fashion products featured are shoes, bags, pearls, home decors and other handwoven products.

caexpo-pr-3-img2Mindanao pearls are among the Home and Fashion products featured at the 14th CAEXPO.

Participating Philippines food exporters are 22 Propack Asia Corporation, AG Pacific Nutriceutical Corporation, Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing Corp., Avante Agri-Products Philippines Inc., Bulacan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc., Castillejos Agri-Farms, Inc., Eng Seng Food Products, Edna and Rebecca’s Banana Chips and Coated Peanuts, and Free Food Coconut Manufacturing.

Also joining are Hillsview Food Product, Jamla Corporation, Jida Aqua Resources, KF Nutrifoods International Inc., Lao Intergrated Farms, Inc., L.Sanchez Farm, Magical Blend Marketing International, Marikina Food Corporation, Mid-East Sweets, Mindanao Banana Farmers And Exporters Association, Inc., Pearlfoods International, Inc., Philippine Morinda Citrifolia Inc., Ridad Fruits and Vegetables, Safepac Corporation, Subic Superfood Inc., Sunrise Corn Coffee., Super Q, Team Asia Corporation, Tropicana Food Products, Universal Canning, Inc., and Year Luck Food & Industrial Corporation.

Meanwhile, joining home and fashion brands are Ai-She Footwear, Art’s Craft Enterprises, Easter Weaving Room, Inc., Jacildo’s Handicraft, Jer Shell’s Craft Creation Int’l, Jhaz Footwear Store, John Carlo Creations, Maddela Flowers and Crafts, Mindanao Pearl Center, Northway Arts and Crafts, and Tribal Handicraft Makers Association.

CAEXPO is the second biggest trade event in China, with a total exhibition space of about 80,000 sqm. and 4,600 exhibition booths with around 57,000 participants. It is the only international trade fair in the region dedicated to promoting the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and celebrating regional economic and trade cooperation.

For this year’s participation, DTI-CITEM targets to help the local MSMEs penetrate the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, and secure at least $8 million export sales.

PH eyes USD8M export sales from China, ASEAN states at CAEXPO

DTI-CITEM leads investment and tourism promotion in China’s 2nd biggest trade fair

PH eyes $8M export sales from China, ASEAN states at CAEXPO

The Philippines seeks to secure more trade and tourism investments from China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) countries in the upcoming 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on September 12-15 at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC) in China.

In the 2016 CAEXPO, 31 Philippine MSMEs negotiated USD6.74 million export sales from 4,076 buyers. This year, DTI-CITEM targets to help the local MSMEs penetrate the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, and secure at least USD8 million export sales.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry-Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), partner agencies supporting the Philippine delegation includes the Provincial Government of Aurora, DTI – Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), DTI – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotions (BDTP), Board of Investments (BOI), the Department of Agriculture – Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS), and the country’s Tourism Promotions Board (TPB).

 “The Philippine participation in CAEXPO will streamline efforts toward strengthening the country’s economic ties with China and the ASEAN nations,” said DTI-CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon. “It will also give us the opportunity to present our country as a source for high-quality products and services, and show our goodwill with the Chinese government through trade, tourism, and investment promotions.”

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.

DTI-CITEM will also spotlights the business and cultural tourism of the province of Aurora as this year’s selected “City of Charm.”

CAEXPO is the second biggest trade event in China, with a total exhibition space of about 80,000 sqm. and 4,600 exhibition booths with around 57,000 participants. It is the only international trade fair in the region dedicated to promoting the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and celebrating regional economic and trade cooperation.

For this year, CAEXPO will focus on the partnership between the two parties in building the China-led Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Through the Silk Road, China eyes to boost its investments in ASEAN countries and provide infrastructure networks particularly for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in the global value chain.

It also targets to strengthen cooperation towards the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade pact of the economic bloc with its six dialogue partners including China.

 “More than just export sales, our goal this year is to drumbeat the country’s strong trade potential since the Philippines is one of the fastest growing Asian economies. We also need to help our MSMEs penetrate the Chinese market, particularly now that there is an overwhelming demand for healthy foods, marine products, fresh fruits and intermediate goods in one of the world’s largest economies,” said Tugonon.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), China ranked as the country’s fourth top export destination, with merchandise deliveries in 2016 ending nearly flat at USD6.19 billion from USD6.17 billion in 2016.

Last April 2017, World Bank forecasted the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 6.9 percent by the end of 2017 with promises of continued robust economic growth due to increase in public spending and infrastructure projects. Robust growth among the country’s main trading partners is expected to boost demand for Philippine exports, based on World Bank’s June 2017 Global Economic Prospects.