PHILIPPINE EXHIBITORS generated sales of about $300 million at the 2019 China International Import Exposition (CIIE), more than double the year-earlier amount, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

In a statement Tuesday, the DTI said the expo, with exhibition space of more than 240,000 square meters, attracts an average of 150,000 buyers from more than 100 countries.

“The big jump in sales since the last CIIE proves that China sees the Philippines as a significant source of agricultural and other products. This motivates us to continue our efforts in getting more exhibitors to the CIIE, as well as improving trade relations and market access through the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

“Suppliers, for their part, should increase their production to meet Chinese market demand.”

Making up the Philippine delegation were 139 exhibitors, including 32 food vendors. Top selling products at the expo were fresh bananas, pineapples, mangoes and durian along with processed fruits and nuts and coconut products.

Among the exhibitors were tuna canner Century Pacific Food, Inc., which recently launched in Chinese market, along with San Miguel Corp., Monde Nissin Corp., and Fisher Farms, Inc.

Trade Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said that the exhibitors reflected the Philippines’ strengths in exporting mango, banana, papaya, pineapple, and young coconut.

“Undersecretary Macatoman observed that with the stronger Philippine-China relations and through China’s liberalization program and the CIIE, there will be more Philippine food products sold in China soon,” the statement said.

DTI and the Department of Agriculture expect “much bigger participation” from the Philippines in the 2020 CIIE. — Jenina P. Ibañez