Philippine trade team in Riyadh to promote halal-certified products

Philippine trade team in Riyadh to promote halal-certified products
Senior Filipino diplomats and delegates with Riyadh Chamber officials.
Updated 18 November 2016

Philippine trade team in Riyadh to promote halal-certified products

Philippine trade team in Riyadh to promote halal-certified products

RIYADH: A trade delegation from the Philippines comprising 10 companies from the country’s food sector arrived recently in Saudi Arabia to promote Filipino products in the Kingdom.
Iric C. Arribas, charge d’affaires at the Philippine Embassy, said that the delegation’s visit is expected to ramp up bilateral trade between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the trade exchange will further grow in the aftermath of the trade delegation’s visit,” Arribas said.
The delegation met with officials of the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) in Riyadh before leaving for the Eastern Province on Wednesday.
They also held talks with businessmen at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). The delegation will proceed to Jeddah on Nov. 21 and will return to the Philippines on Nov. 22.
The delegation includes Agnes Perpetua Legaspi and Gina Yap, assistant director and senior trade industry development specialist of export marketing bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry, respectively.
Dubai-based Commercial Attache Eric C. Elnar of the DTI has also joined the delegation.
The visiting team also comprises the representatives of companies such as QPhil Products International, SL Agritech Corp., Bantre Trade FZE, Profood International Corporation and LBC.
The embassy started preparing for the visit as early as last month, with the diplomat meeting with local business leaders to inform them about the trade delegation’s trip to the Kingdom.
He met with Saud Al-Sehali, assistant secretary general for economic affairs at the Riyadh Chamber, and Secretary General Abdul Rahman Al-Wabel of the Asharqia Chamber in the Eastern Province.
Arribas added that the Philippine relations with the Kingdom are based not only on labor but also on other sectors such as the food industry.
“There’s great potential for trade growth between the two countries,” Arribas said.
The delegation is currently traveling to key Saudi cities to meet with local counterparts and promote their respective products.
From Riyadh, it has traveled to the Eastern Province and from there it was expected to proceed to Jeddah, which also has a large number of OFWs — potential consumers of Philippine products.
Saudi Arabia is home to 800,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), in addition to other expats and Saudis who are fond of Filipino food items.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia was the 10th biggest trading partner of the Philippines in 2012, and it had the trade advantage. The bilateral trade volume back then touched $3.2 billion.
No official trade figure between the two countries at present has been released.
Arribas said that there was a great potential for expansion in halal food products, high-end garment and apparels, classic furniture and home furnishings, fashion accessories, cosmetics and health care products and handicraft.
He said that the top Philippine exports to the Kingdom include men’s and boys’ wear, fresh bananas, wooden furniture, canned tuna, sauces and condiments (including spices and mixes), automotive parts, parts of metal machinery, cigarettes, powders (not compressed), among others.
Top imports from Saudi Arabia include petroleum oil and crude, urea, butane, polyethylene, propane, calcium, polypropylene (in primary forms), copper waste and scrap, among others.