A delegation of 16 Philippine businesses engaged in food and beverages at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) secured $1.1 billion in overall sales in 2023, surpassing the $655-million sales booked last year, according to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a statement issued last Saturday, the Citem said the amount included purchase agreements made prior to the opening of the 6th CIIE, tallying $876.63 million with ceremonial turnover and signing during the show.
On top of this, the Citem said over $226 million was recorded under booked sales, sales under negotiation, retail sales and business matching activities after the 6-day trade exhibition.
According to the Citem, the figure is the highest earning recorded by the Philippines following its participation in the Chinese expo since its maiden edition in 2018.
The Citem said the top food products in terms of dollar value of export leads were durian, bananas, specialty coffee and pineapples. Bananas and pineapples remain as the Philippines’s fresh-fruits exports to China, the Citem added.
Apart from the booked sales and purchase agreements, the Citem noted that business matching activities by the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Bank of China (BOC) contributed $3.4 million.
The Citem said the sales generated is a monumental milestone and translate to “substantial” employment opportunities for Filipino families.
Citing a report issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Citem said a “huge portion” of the Philippine economy is driven by export-related activities.
A significant growth recorded in 2022, tallying a total of $78.8 billion in export revenue from $74.7 billion in 2021, the agency added.
The CIIE was held from November 5 to November 10, 2023.
For his part, DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo underscored that with the country’s consistent participation in the China-based import expo, the Philippine government aims “to expand its bilateral trade and investment relations with China and the rest of the world.”
“The CIIE has become an important platform for the country to showcase its best-selling food products and attract potential investors in China, creating new business opportunities and boosting the economy,” Rodolfo explained.
At a media briefing two weeks ago, Glenn G. Peñaranda, Assistant Secretary and Officer-in-Charge for DTI Trade Promotions Group (DTI-TPG), said that the government has a “fighting target” of $700-million purchasing commitments from the said expo.
In April this year, the Citem said the Philippines started exporting durian to China. In just a few months of market access, the export promotions arm of DTI said China has become the major export destination for fresh Durian at about 3,481.29 metric tons (MT) out of the total 3,916.36 MT exported to the world from January to October 2023.