A recent Calabarzon delegation on a trade and study mission to California, USA, affirmed that export opportunities for small and medium-scale enterprises (SME) abound in the US West Coast.

The mission delegation composed of entrepreneurs and representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had one goal in mind: to test the USA as a potential market for Calabarzon products.

DTI Calabarzon Regional Director Marilou Quinco-Toledo advised that the Pistahan sa Yerba Buena Gardens at Howard Street in downtown San Francisco was the appropriate site for the test selling of Calabarzon products since the trade fair coincided with the 21st Annual Pistahan Festival, an event organized by the Filipino American Arts Exposition that drew over 60,000 people daily.

Food items (coffee, banana chips), health and wellness preparations (turmeric, lemongrass tea) as well as fashion accessories, footwear, and rice bran-based beauty products were brought to the fair and the reported sales including booked orders was valued at USD 17,262.

Through the arrangements made by Philippine Trade and Investments Center (PTIC), the delegation was able to conduct business matching with US firms, gain insights on how to access market in the USA and acquire information on the latest trends in handicraft, fashion and food.

Laura Jaraplasan, Philippine Trade Representative to Los Angeles, said “The business matching event held at the lobby of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center and attended by four wholesalers/distributors prompted the negotiation between Pinex Trading-USA and Makiling Organics to supply 100 cases of turmeric tea per month.”

There was also a marketing and packaging seminar attended by the delegation that provided a chain of knowledge on the basics of exporting to the US.

The delegation, made product presentations to five US wholesalers/ distributors which resulted to the following general agreements: the use of the brands of US-based firms by Calabarzon manufacturers; compliance to regulations on the use of food coloring media, and Pinex Trading-USA to buy all the shipments made by the Calabarzon group; also MBC American Business Consultants’ exploring use of exhibited teas.

Toledo, confident that there is a market for Filipino products particularly those from the small and medium enterprises in Calabarzon, said, “Our products have easily captured the interest of the wholesalers which are found comparable to those of other US-exporting countries”.