IN an effort to diversify markets for Filipino exporters, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), in coordination with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Middle East and Africa, is conducting an outbound business matching mission to the Middle East from February 12 to 24, 2020. The OBMM is in conjunction with Gulfood 2020 in Dubai World Trade Centre.
“We hope that through this OBMM, the Philippines will be able to explore business environment and possible prospects in the Middle East markets, and sustain networking and follow-up activities in the United Arab Emirates [UAE]…,” DTI-Trade Promotions Group (TPG) Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said.
The OBMM also targets to develop and expand relationships with business, government, and multiplier organizations in Middle East countries, and enhance local understanding of the current economic conditions and business opportunities.
The mission is also anchored on EMB’s aspiration to engage with high-level promotion, targeted market intelligence and business matching, and focused training and capacity building for both large companies, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which also echoes the thrust of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act (PHEDP) and the Expo 2020 Dubai campaign.
Moreover, this project supports the Export Promotion for the Philippine food sector, which endeavors to bring local cuisine, ingredients, and beverages overseas. The program’s strategy will build on Strategy No. 3 of Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022, which is to design a comprehensive packages of support that will be able to mainstream Philippine food, food ingredients, and beverages sectors, and encourage innovations on major Philippine commodities and niche products.
Led by Macatoman, the business delegation is composed of representatives from 11 Philippine business companies, namely: Fitrite Inc.; Fruits of Life Inc.; HDR Foods Corp.; Jocker’s Food Industries; Magic Melt Food Inc.; Marigold Manufacturing Corp.; Marikina Food Corp.; Pinesvill Trading FZE LTE; Pixcel Transglobal; Sagrex Food, and LBC. Also included in the delegation are Philippine Commercial Attaché for the Middle East and Africa Charmaine Mignon S. Yalong, DTI-EMB’s Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist Myrtle Faye L. Solina, and Trade and Industry Development Specialist Al-Mahdi I. Jul-Ahmad.
The featured products for this mission are food items, sauces, spices, mixes, and condiments, as well as cargo and logistics for the services.
Macatoman reiterated the need for more Philippine brands to enter the Middle East markets to cater to the demand of Filipinos living there, and, to a larger extent, to penetrate the mainstream market. This mission also endeavors to deliberately promote Philippine bananas in the Middle East market, among others.
The delegation is set to hold business-matching events, market scanning, store visits, meetings with government authorities and a visit to Gulfood 2020.
“As part of the OBMM’s activities, the Philippine exporters will be engaged in B2B [business-to-business] meetings with prospective buyers which will give them knowledge of the market requirements in terms of volume, quality and price. It will bolster and increase exports of food and nonfood products and services to GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries,” DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said.
Gulfood is the world’s largest annual food, beverage, and hospitality exhibition which attracts food and beverage professionals from all over the world to Dubai—a hub for international trade and commerce. It is also celebrating its 24th edition this year.
From January to November 2019, the Philippines exported $720.1 million worth of goods to the Middle East and imported $3,298.8 million of goods. Among the top products exported by the country were bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried ($211.9 million); input or output units, whether or not containing storage units in the same housing ($64 million); other bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and other baker’s wares, whether or not containing cocoa ($41.3 million); pineapples, fresh or dried ($38.1 million); and video projectors ($22.1 million).
On the other hand, the country’s top imported products from the Middle East in the same period were petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals; crude ($2,112.6 million); light petroleum oils and preparations thereof ($225.9 million); propane, liquified ($126.6 million); butanes, liquified ($120.9 million); and aeroplanes and other aircraft of an unladen weight not exceeding 2,000 kilograms ($72.7 million).