ORGANIZERS of the China International Import Expo hope to woo Cebuano entrepreneurs into joining and expect their participation to reduce the trade deficit of the Philippines against China.
Consul General Shi Yong of the People’s Republic of China invited Cebuano exporters to join China’s biggest import exposition this November, saying this would bridge Filipino entrepreneurs to some 1.42 billion Chinese consumers.
Shi said while other economies are protecting their own borders, China is opening its market to the world to further develop international trade and share growth opportunities with other economies.
Bilateral trade between the Philippines and China reached $23.7 billion last year, up by eight percent from $21.9 billion in 2016. China is the Philippines’ number one trading partner.
However, the current two-way trade favors China.
China imported $6.91 billion from the Philippines last year against its huge exports of $16.83 billion, or a trade deficit of $9.9 billion for the Philippines.
The consul general said CIIE is the best platform for Filipino exporters to gain market access to China, which aims to import $5 trillion worth of products and services within the five-year period.
Shi added that the Philippines is in a better position to grab hold of this opportunity, following the warming of ties between China and the Philippines. He sees the expo as a measure to resolve the trade deficit and optimize the bilateral trade of both countries.
Jin Yuan, commercial counsellor of the People’s Republic of China, said the CIIE is a big trade event which focuses only on imports.
“There would be no Chinese exhibitors as they will be the buyers of all of your products,” he said, during the CIIE Roadshow in Cebu yesterday.
Around 150,000 participants from over 100 countries are expected to join the expo, which is slated on Nov. 5 to 10.
Yuan said some 3,000 enterprises have already registered for the expo and the Philippines has already booked more than 1,000 square meters of space. Dried mangoes, mango chocolate, coffee, lechon, and sizzling bangus are some of the food-based products that appeal to the Chinese.
He noted that the expo will not only be limited to five days, as featured import products will be exhibited online until the second run of the CIIE opens in 2019.
Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada hopes to see Cebuano-made furniture at the expo. EMB is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.
“We’d like to see your furniture, wearables, fashion accessories, dried mangoes and manufactured goods at the CIIE,” said Perlada, emphasizing that Filipino entrepreneurs should start looking at China not as a competitor but as a new market for high-quality Filipino made products.
Glenn Penaranda, commercial counsellor at the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Beijing, said design-driven products like luxury furniture, home furnishings and decor, fashion accessories, lady’s bags and accessories, children’s wear and accessories are some of the potential products that the Filipino exporters could bring into China.
High-value seafood, fruits and processed food, coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, and coco water, electronics and automotive parts, as well as services like tourism, English as Second Language and IT services, and minerals like nickel and cooper also have ready markets in China.