Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez receives an interview with Xinhua in Manila, the Philippines, Oct. 22, 2018. The largest and first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), to be held in Shanghai, will be a great opportunity for more Filipino products to enter the burgeoning Chinese market, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told Xinhua. (Xinhua/Yuan Mengchen)
by Yuan Mengchen, Amber Gonzales
MANILA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The largest and first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), to be held in Shanghai, will be a great opportunity for more Filipino products to enter the burgeoning Chinese market, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told Xinhua.
Lopez, who will lead the Filipino delegation to the import expo in Shanghai, said that nearly 40 companies will be participating in the event which will run on Nov. 5-10.
The secretary assured that their delegation will bring the best products that the Philippines has to offer. Being one of the top exporters of fruits to China, Lopez mentioned that agricultural products are one of the highlights of their exhibit.
"We are big exporters of pineapple, mango, coconut, banana to China. And we are also working on processed agriculture products, snack products, dried mangoes. And we want to promote these kinds of product," he added.
Data shows that China imported nearly 900,000 tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines in 2017, a 24-percent increase compared to 2016.
Aside from produce, the Philippines will also promote its design-oriented products, as efforts are being poured into developing these under-explored markets to respond to the consumer requirement of Chinese customers, Lopez said.
"We just recently held an exhibition promoting the best of Filipino products and furniture, apparel. And we believe that we will be able to attract more market and buyers from China," he said.
Lopez admitted that it will always be a challenge for Filipino products to take the center stage in trading with China, given that the Chinese market is opening not just to the Philippines but also to the rest of the world. Filipino enterprises are, thus, facing even more competition.
"We have to make sure that the Philippines will perform better than other economies because this is a competitive game ... We have to make sure that we offer highly differentiated products, good quality that will meet the needs and satisfaction of the Chinese consumer market," he said.
The Filipino delegation will also attend various business meetings with their counterparts from the Chinese government, as well as with potential investors during the expo, hoping that they will get more purchase orders from the Chinese market and further the two countries' trade partnership.
China is the top trading partner of the Philippines, combining exports and imports. And it is the fourth largest market for Philippine exports.
Lopez said the CIIE is aimed to balance trade and allow more and more products from other countries including the Philippines to enter China, an effort by China to lead the way to opening up the economy and working towards globalization.
With the CIIE, China is telling the world that it is ready to buy more and encourage more exports into China, he added.
Lopez took the CIIE as an effort for China "to lead the way to opening up the economy and really working towards globalization."
"This forum is the first of its kind. Normally you do an export promotion. But this time, it's the inward direction."
"So, we appreciate the effort by the Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese government. I think this is one way of China telling the world that it's for globalization, and it is for helping solve the trade balance in other countries," Lopez said.
The trade partnership of the two countries is rooted in their long history of product exchange around 1000 years ago. Thus, by taking part in endeavors like the CIIE and the Belt and Road Initiative of China, the secretary is optimistic that the Philippines will soon be able to imitate the economic success of its neighbor in the years to come.
"We continue to work forward with our Chinese counterparts towards this Belt and Road Initiative, increasing trade and investment and cooperation. We encourage all Chinese businessmen and investors to come to the Philippines. The Philippines is in an economic break out," Lopez said.