By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Filipino entrepreneurs, mainly from the themes of food and livelihoods, are expected to perform better at China's second International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's first purpose-built import exhibition.
Francis Chua, emeritus chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI), said that the Philippines will have a larger space of 900 sq.m this year, ensuring an opportunity for 150 Filipino entrepreneurs to display their products to the huge Chinese market.
“This is better because we have a bigger place, but there will not be individual booths this time,” he said. There will also be no subsidies from the Chinese organizer. If ever subsidies, Chua said, it will come from the Department of Trade and Industry's International Trade Exposures and Trade Tours.
Chua said, however, that Philippines should be able to expand its participation in other expo themes, such as electronics. This time, he said, CITEM has only focused on food and livelihoods.
Non-food products like electronics cannot be lumped along with the food items, he said. As such, he said, the business community has urged CITEM to book a place in the electronics section of the exhibition and bring non-food businesses to take part.
In addition, Chua is pushing for full promotion of Philippine products with good potential in the Chinese market.
Earlier, however, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, Ramon M. Lopez also said they will avoid the Philippine pavilion but work on securing 100 lives and doubling their sales this year to P1.3 billion ($ 250). million) from $ 125 million last year.
“So far we have secured 50 lives,” said Lopez. Last year, the Philippines did not get the 100 pledges promised as the organizer had gone out of strong demand from overseas exhibitors. He said they were working to get 50 more booths this time.
At the front was the country's pavilion, Lopez explained that the pavilion was primarily a display center to promote the country but not actually driving sales.
“So, a pavilion isn't really a sale, but commercial transactions take place in the booths so that we focus on driving sales,” he said. The Chinese government subsidized the Philippine pavilion last year.
Lopez also said they were using the good links with China to ensure a total of 100 booths. He has also written his counterpart in China and has taken advantage of the assistance of a Chinese embassy here to facilitate the Philippine booths.
Most Philippine exhibitors in the food sector have been processed, but DTI is also looking at exports of raw agricultural products, he said.
The CIIE has been slate in November this year in Shanghai.
As the world's first purpose-built import exhibition, CIIE offers companies from all over the world the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Chinese market and explore opportunities for local collaboration.