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DTI bares participation of 70+ PHL MSMEs in 2019 China-Asean expo

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing to fly over 70 micro,
small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to China for the only international trade show dedicated to promote regional economic relations between Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In a news statement issued on Tuesday, the DTI’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem) announced it is organizing a delegation that will present trade, investment and tourism opportunities in the Philippines. According to Citem Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, this delegation will represent the country in the 16th China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) in China.

“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,” Suaco-Juan said.

Last year the Philippines was represented by 70 firms and trade officials. They were able to secure $22 million in the Caexpo, of which most of the sales are on coconut products, buri bags and tropical fruit snacks, such as vacuum freeze dried durian, mango and banana chips.

This year Manila is maintaining its 2018 head count, as it targets to bring over 70 MSMEs to penetrate the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

“Together with our partners, we are confident that we can emulate last year’s success, as we seek to elevate the Philippines’s 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,” Suaco-Juan said.

The Philippine delegation to the 16th Caexpo will be headed by makers of home décors, fashion items, wearables, gifts, handicrafts, personal care and food products.

On top of export opportunities, Suaco-Juan added participation in the Caexpo will give the Philippines access to diverse opportunities for trade and investments in China, which are seen to grow under its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. Joining the MSMEs are officials from the Tourism Promotion Board and the Board of Investments, as they will present to participants cultural tourism and investment priority areas in the country.

Caexpo is one of the largest trade events in China with a 124,000-square-meter
exhibition space.

It is the only international trade show in the Asia-Pacific dedicated at promoting the China-Asean Free Trade Area. Last year’s Caexpo drew over 2,700 exhibitors, and 96,000 buyers and participants from all over the world. Total trade between the Philippines and China amounted to $30.83 billion last year, according to records from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

However, a huge chunk of the trade can be owned to Chinese exports to the Philippines, which expanded 26.05 percent to $22.01 billion last year, from $17.46 billion in 2017. Exports also grew, but at a slower pace of 9.98 percent to $8.81 billion, from $8.01 billion.

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