Philippine Trade & Industry Secretary: CIIE will offer SMEs excellent opportunities Release date:2018-07-01

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Interviewee: Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry

Ramon Lopez expressed his positive comments on the great achievements that China has made during its 40 years of reform and opening-up, which he believes is worth learning for the Philippines.

He mentioned that Chinese people are very industrious, business-oriented and professional, and that Filipinos could learn a lot from Chinese people.

Talking about policies, he views that China actively leveraged investments to stimulate more manufacturing activities, create more jobs and improve its people’s living standards, all of which should be applied in the Philippines so as to catch up with the economic development.

Lopez views that the CIIE is “a positive move that the Chinese government does share prosperity, balance trade and help its trading partners”.

The CIIE will help Filipino companies to display their products and services to the Chinese market, match with other companies, and attract buyers to buy more Philippine products. Besides, the CIIE will offer those small and medium enterprises in the Philippines an excellent opportunity to get the exposure to be known and showcase their new brands, said Lopez.

Lopez encouraged more Filipino companies to take part in the CIIE, saying that many products and services from the Philippines have huge potential. For example, agricultural products, mineral products, garments and accessories…all these items can show the strengths of Filipino products.

Filipino sector of fashion accessories is design-driven. The trend of Filipino accessories has been created by blending innovative designs and diversified materials, he said.

According to Lopez, the Filipino tourism industry boasts great potential. When President Rodrigo Duterte visited China in 2016, the number of Chinese tourists to the Philippines was 500,000. Now, the number is nearly 1 million. The Philippines will continue to promote tourism, through which the country can drive other industries to better develop.

Lopez stated that the Philippines should actively seize the opportunity to export to China. Meanwhile, he also raised the point that the Philippines still faces many challenges - manufacturing capacity and agricultural productivity in the Philippines still need to be upgraded to improve their supply capacities to export to China.

Besides competing with highly competitive Chinese producers, the Philippines will also face global competition. Filipino companies must be more innovative, and the government will also support them, he said.

“We will definitely bring our best products that are known for good quality and right prices to the CIIE”, said Lopez, adding that they will do market research so as to better understand the needs of the Chinese market.

Lopez thanked China for the opportunity to communicate with the Chinese people and the Chinese market. He said that the Philippines would arrange enterprises to participate in the CIIE, during which they hope Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could also attend the event.