1Third from right, Mr. Gao Zhao President of Tianjin Food Industry Association

Post’s strategic cooperation with industry associations has become fundamental to promoting and strengthening Philippines-China bilateral trade and economic relations.

On 8 April, in a bid to promote Philippine food exports in Northern China, PTIC Beijing delivered a product presentation to invite Tianjin Food Industry Association (TFIA) to visit IFEX Philippines.

For the first time, TFIA agreed to co-organize a delegation to IFEX Philippines. The industry association also agreed to establish an industry cooperation mechanism with their counterpart organization in the Philippines – PhilExport and PhilFoodEx.

Profile of TFIA Founded in 1981, Tianjin Food Industry Association functions as the management service organization of Tianjin’s food industry. Tianjin Association is responsible for the management of ten professional associations – wine, meat, drinks, dairy products, spices, nutrition and health care products, quick-frozen, baked products, sugar products, edible fungus, food machinery and food packaging machinery associations. Tianjin Association consists of five professional committees: expert committee, standardization technology committee, bee products professional committee, chocolate and candy professional committee, hawthorn food professional committee.

Strategic Importance of Tianjin – Gateway to Northern China Home to the fourth largest port in the world and now connected to Beijing by high-speed train, Tianjin has combined with Beijing to form a single megalopolis. However, despite its huge market potential, the city’s close proximity to Beijing has resulted in many exporters and food distributors overlooking it, instead aiming to target the capital city. As a result, Tianjin’s distribution channels for imported food products lag behind those of other cities, including Beijing and Qingdao. This is a significant oversight, since Tianjin topped China’s per capita GDP in 2012, surpassing even the likes of Beijing and Shanghai, although relatively low disposable income indicates a rising cost of living. Tianjin, along with Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing, is a Special Municipality directly under the control of China’s Central Government.

Located 1.5 hours due west of Beijing by car, Tianjin is North China’s largest coastal city and port. Tianjin is located on the Bohai Sea, and serves as a main gateway to Beijing and Hebei Province, as well as an important manufacturing hub. Tianjin has a number of plans in place to better integrate itself with Beijing, some of which have already been enacted. In 2008, a high-speed train began service between the two cities, cutting travel time to a mere 30 minutes between the two cities. With its increasing connectivity to Beijing and high levels of investment that continue to fuel the development of its ports, Tianjin is expected to continue its record growth.

Tianjin is a major food processing and packaging center for China. Many well-known brands are based there, including Dynasty Wine, Gou Bu Li, Gui Fa Xiang Fried Dough Twist, Tian Shi Soy Sauce, and Master Kong, one of China’s top producers of instant noodles and other noodle products. The city is China’s top grain and oil production base, and based on Tianjin’s strong port infrastructure, a number of food companies have established large-scale production facilities in Bin Hai New Area for instant noodles, beverages, and agricultural product processing. As of June 2013, twenty-three factories of Tianjin’s top 50 food processing companies are located in the Bin Hai New Area.