By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Filipino entrepreneurs, mostly from the food and livelihood product themes, are expected to perform better at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first dedicated import exhibition in the world.
Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said the Philippines is going to get a bigger 900-square meter space this year, assuring at least 150 Filipino entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their products to the huge Chinese market.
“This is better because we are given a bigger space, but there will be no individual booths this time,” he said. There will be no subsidies, too, from the Chinese organizer. If ever there will be subsidies, Chua said, it will come from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions.
Chua, however, said that the Philippines should be able to expand its participation to the other themes of the expo, like electronics. This time, he said, CITEM has only focused on food and livelihood products.
Non-food products like electronics cannot be lumped together with the food items, he said. As such, he said, the business community has urged CITEM to also book for a space in the electronics section of the exhibition and bring non-food businesses to participate.
In addition, Chua is pushing for a full promotion of Philippine products that have a good potential in the Chinese market.
Earlier, however, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also said they will forego the Philippine pavilion but work on securing 100 booths and double their sales this year to P1.3 billion ($250 million) from last year’s $125 million.
“So far, we have secured 50 booths,” Lopez said. Last year, the Philippines failed to get the promised 100 booths as the organizer ran out of spaces on strong demand by foreign exhibitors. He said they are working to get another 50 booths this time.
On foregoing the country pavilion, Lopez explained that the pavilion is largely a display center to promote the country but does not really drive sales.
“So, a pavilion is not really sales drive, but commercial transactions occur at the booths so we to concentrate on driving sales,” he said. The Chinese government subsidized the Philippine pavilion last year.
Lopez also said they are using the prevailing good relations with China to secure a total of 100 booths. He has also written his counterpart in China and tapped the help of the Chinese embassy here to facilitate securing the Philippine booths.
Most of the Philippine exhibitors are in the processed food sector, but DTI is also looking at exports of raw agri products, he said.
The CIIE is slated in November this year in Shanghai.
As the first dedicated import exhibition in the world, CIIE offers an opportunity for companies from around the world to introduce themselves to the Chinese market and explore opportunities for local cooperation.