THE Philippines generated a record-high $655.15 million in sales through its trade fair participation at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai held early in November.

This is the highest yield recorded for a Philippine country participation anywhere in the world for the year, and the highest sales generated from the CIIE since its inception in 2018.

The Philippines’ hybrid participation, led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), included 62 food and food-related companies, the highest number of Philippine exhibitors in the CIIE to date.

Secretary Fred Pascual of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in his remarks during the official opening of the CIIE participation, stated: “Our participation in the CIIE has become not only a practical response to opportunity but an imperative to expand our international market, cement the Philippines’ reputation as a reliable sourcing destination for food, and introduce more quality food products into China’s mainstream markets.”

On-site sales and bulk purchase contracts accounted for 97% of total sales, while the remaining three percent came from online business-matching activities.

“The amount of products we export to China has vastly increased in the past five to six years, and sales were five times higher compared to the first time the Philippines has participated in the 2018 CIIE,” said Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Shanghai head Mario C. Tani.

The CIIE was launched in 2018 as one of China’s major trade promotion initiatives, with China President Xi Jinping attending the first two editions in Shanghai. Despite the pandemic, increased sales were generated both in 2020 and 2021.

At the forefront of the CIIE pavilion design and conceptualization, Citem presented a one-country promotional approach with a single storyline, a call to experience a “Festival of Island Flavors.”

The Philippine pavilion showcased three brands: FOODPhilippines, CoconutPhilippines, and Liwayway China's well-known Oishi brand.

The DTI, through its Trade Promotions Group (TPG) and the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), also established strategic alliances by signing cooperation intentions with two of China’s largest food chambers, the Beijing-based China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native

Produce (CFNA) and the Shanghai Food Association (SFA).

With a combined membership of 7,500 companies, these cooperation arrangements will be critical to enhancing cooperation between Philippine and Chinese companies in areas such as business-matching, technical cooperation, and investments to boost food production capacity.

“We value the partnership with CFNA and SFA as we pursue increased collaboration in enhancing food trade. We hope that this can progress to deeper collaboration in the whole value chain in food production, processing and marketing,” said DTI’s OIC for TPG Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda.

The Philippines’ hybrid participation is led by DTI through Citem, its export promotion arm. It is co-organized with the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Shanghai (PTIC-Shanghai), the Export Marketing Bureau, together with partner agencies, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Office of the Agricultural Counsellor in Beijing (OAC-Beijing), and the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport). (PR)