THE Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) set a $336 million target for export orders across its events for 2020.

The export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), CITEM organizes Philippine delegations to international trade expos and creates programs to develop export products and services.

The target for next year is just below the 2019 target of $337 million. The 2020 target includes a goal of 18,000 trade inquiries and 9,000 unique buyers.

CITEM executive director Pauline Suaco-Juan said in a phone interview on Dec. 23 that the center is focusing on switching to a digital strategy to reach its 2020 target.

“We’re doing a greater focus on content marketing and digital marketing. This is something CITEM hasn’t tried yet,” she said.

CITEM will create digital content to build social media campaigns promoting Philippine products in trade fairs. She said the campaigns will help the Philippines reach a network of trade show buyers beyond CITEM’s database.

“We’re hoping to leverage the market intelligence that we have, and communicating a solid visual message in terms of the campaigns that we are doing within the different trade fairs.”

The development of a digital trade and community platform for Manila FAME, a design and lifestyle event, is a key strategic measure for CITEM’s performance in 2020.

As DTI prepares for the Dubai World Expo 2020, CITEM is putting together a calendar of trade and business events in the United Arab Emirates occurring in tandem with the expo.

“While the pavilion in itself is going to be a showcase of the creative industry, the side events that take place simultaneously and leading up to the expo is really going to be about trade in the middle east,” Ms. Suaco-Juan said.

The Philippine delegation to the expo is setting up an P800-million pavilion and exhibitions showcasing the country’s creative sector.

Ms. Suaco-Juan said that the trade events in the area will focus on promoting Philippine halal products.

CITEM kicked off its participation in 2019 through food, beverage, and hospitality exhibition SIAL Middle East in Abu Dhabi. It will be joining food and beverage exhibition Gulfood in Dubai in February.

CITEM will release its trade agenda for the area in early 2020.

CITEM expects to participate in around 24 events this year. — Jenina P. Ibañez