Mindanao traders join Asia's biggest trade show in Singapore

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Sunday, April 27, 2014


IN A bid to forge stronger business links and penetrate further the Asian market, Mindanao-based companies participated in the 19th Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) 2014, considered as Asia?s largest food and hospitality trade event held at the Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A Philippine pavilion that showcased the best of the county’s products was among the attractions in the trade fair that featured more than 3,000 companies from 65 countries.

The Davao City government through the Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) organized a business forum to facilitate trade and business matching activities between the Philippine delegation and the participating international buyers.

"We are deeply encouraged by the interest of no less than Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam to invest in the country, and his recent visit to the Philippines sends strong signals for the enhancement of bilateral relations at various levels," said Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

She added that Mindanao’s participation to the FHA 2014 was aimed towards forming a solid bedrock for the development of a Mindanao-Singapore ties, facilitating for Mindanao-based companies to fully penetrate the Singapore market, and eventually the rest of Asia.

Among the Mindanao participants in the FHA 2014 included Sagrex, an agri-based company that is involved in the processing and exporting of high-quality food products; Mega Sardines, a top producer of canned and pouched high-grade sardine products; Universal Canning, one of the largest marine industrial conglomerates in the Philippines; and Philippine Fresh Fruits Corporation, an exporter of high-quality agricultural products such as banana and pineapple.

The Mindanao participation in FHA 2014 was also part of the country’s preparation for hosting the 2nd BIMP-Eaga and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference, the biggest sub-regional trade fair and business conference that will gather top traders from two economic sub-regional groupings within Asean in October this year.

“Our participation in the FHA 2014 is also an opportunity for Mindanao to position its companies as viable partners of Singaporean counterparts as well as encourage these potential investors to visit Mindanao and participate in the upcoming BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders’ Conference,” said Antonino who is also the Philippine Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA.

She added that securing a larger number of participants from various Asian countries to attend the BIMP-Eaga and IMT-GT Trade Fair will strategically showcase the huge investment potentials of the two sub-regions to the rest of the world.

BIMP-Eaga stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, while the IMT-GT stands for Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle.

The trade fair, which will be held from October 23 to 26 at SM Lanang Premier in Davao City will feature globally competitive products, technology innovations, and investment opportunities of the member countries of the two growth triangles. Other Asean-member countries are also expected to take part in the trade show and other side events, which includes a golf tournament, film festival, and ICT Summit.

The four-day activity is also a commemorative celebration of BIMP-EAGA’s 20th this year. BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 in Davao City as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less developed areas in participating countries.

The IMT-GT on the other hand was formed in 1993 with similar goals of promoting trade, investment, and tourism in less-developed states and provinces in Sumatra, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and Southern Thailand. Both sub-regional groups aim to harness private sector leadership in initiatives to promote cross-border investments and improve connectivity.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 28, 2014.

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