BANGKOK, Thailand: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chile through its regional ProChile Trade Commission held the second “Flavors of Chile” event here in Bangkok from November 13 to 15, to open trading opportunities between Southeast Asian countries and Chilean food exporters looking to expand their market in the Asian region.
After holding the same event in Hong Kong last week, ProChile held the same event here to celebrate the recent Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by Chile and Thailand on October 4, and to further promote Chilean food products to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market, recognizing its demand for quality products and its potential market growth with the advent of Asean Economic Community in 2015.
ProChile invited 15 companies composed of importers and distributors from Asean countries to meet with 23 food exporters from Chile, to discuss potential trading agreements on food products such as dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, natural oils such as olive oil, a variety of seafood and wine.
Jaime Rivera, the trade commissioner and coordinator of Asean markets in the Bangkok event, believes that promotional events will help Southeast Asian countries recognize what Chile has to offer, and at the same time, open opportunities for countries in Asean and the Latin American region.
“Everyone thinks that the business is in China, Japan or Korea. But it really depends on the country. In Southeast Asia, it is easier to move around. You have diverse economic situations in each country, which makes it easier for Chilean companies to offer their products at different quantities based on the country’s demand. In turn, Asean countries can look at Chile as a base to hold businesses in the Latin American region which will open new possibilities for trading opportunities,” Rivera told The Manila Times.
Chile is currently developing new products with higher added value including gourmet products such as olive oil, seafood delicatessen, and flavored mineral waters, jams, wine jellies, dehydrated berries, prunes, dried fruits and various nuts.
With 2012 food exports to the United States, Japan and China reaching $13 billion, Chile wants to create direct links with Asean-based companies.
The Philippines’ representative to the event, Roberto Amores, the president and chief executive officer of Hi-Las Marketing Co. and the chairman of the agriculture sector of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recognized the importance of promotional events to create direct links between international suppliers and local buyers in the Philippines.
“As I work in the food retail and distribution sector in the Philippines, I am impressed to see how business matching events like this that has a well-organized system has a quick impact in the market. We have been holding events like this in the Philippines, but it’s the quality of matching companies, the quality of buyers and suppliers has to be addressed,” Amores said.
Next year, ProChile hopes to open an office in Manila to promote more business opportunities for both nations, with a possible joint study group (JSG) established in the country to examine the food industry, and address challenges in terms of phytosanitary measures and legal compliance, among others.