The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), led by Executive Director Dr. Edward L. Fereira, officially launched the 16th edition of IFEX Philippines at the World Trade Center, Metro Manila today, Friday, May 26, 2023.
This year’s IFEX Philippines has the biggest exhibitor participation numbers with over 700 leading Philippine and international food and beverage exporters joined by more than 10,000 local and foreign buyers participating on the first day of the three-day event.
Dr. Fereira, during the opening program, underscored the importance of the food trade show in building stronger partnerships and establishing new connections between local MSMEs and international trade buyers. “IFEX Philippines is a response to the stable growing global demand for Asian and healthy food products, such as durian and ube.”
In hopes of building stronger connections through a shared love for food, “It is through sharing that we become more united and interconnected with each other. We hope that IFEX Philippines will be an event where everyone could share a significant piece of their culture to the global table,” he added.
Senator Mark Villar, Chairperson for Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship and Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, graced the event to support the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) initiatives for local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by propelling the trade and export promotion of the country.
Senator Villar announced that Senate Bill No. 1594 or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines, an additional government program for micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) aiming to drive inclusive local economic growth by offering Philippine products in the international stage, has been approved and is now on its third and final reading.
DTI Undersecretary Carol Sanchez is also present at the event on behalf of DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual to extend their full support to jumpstart the Philippine food industry.
Emphasizing DTI’s continued support for local MSMEs, Usec. Sanchez announced that the Philippines is now a signatory of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
“DTI also supports increased opportunities for our MSMEs to offer their products and services on the international scene and to have more participation in global value chains (GVC),” she stated.
Also present during the momentous event are Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel; Senator Cynthia Villar; Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman; DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda; CITEM Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Mediran; Philippine Airlines President Captain Stanley Ng; Hon. Christian Unabia, Misamis Oriental District Representative.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Leonila Baluyut of the DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG) addressed the challenges Filipino MSMEs are still facing and reiterated the programs their agency implemented to reinforce them such as the Rise Up Multipurpose Loan a zero-interest and collateral-free loan program; Shared Service Facilities (SSF) a project that aims to improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by providing better access to technology; Kapatid Mentor Me provides mentorship to small businesses boosting entrepreneurial capacity through improved access to mentorship, money, and market.
The DTI-ROG agency provided strong and active support to IFEX Philippines by inviting homegrown MSMEs from the country’s different regions.
IFEX Philippines is CITEM’s long-running trade event and sourcing program for Philippine and global food and ingredients. Together with IFEXConnect.com, IFEX Philippines serves as a one-stop business-to-business (B2B) platform aiming to optimize their sourcing experience of buyers from anywhere in the world.
To learn more about IFEX Philippines, visit IFEXConnect.com.