DAVAO CITY, Philippines – In addition to indorsing a more active food and beverage exchange between Philippines and Indonesia, organizers of the 2nd Indonesia Expo said they will also promote direct trading of goods to revitalize the Davao-General Santos-Bitung trade route launched last year.

According to Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu, the three-day event at Abreeza Mall from June 29 – July 1 aims to be a “mutually beneficial” gathering showcasing the benefits of direct trading between Mindanao investors and Indonesian brands.

“We are glad to inform you that in the last two years, our bilateral relations in general has developed very well,” Napitupulu announced.

The significant trading increase observed by the consulate at 17% increase from 2015 to 2017 and 23% in 2016 to 2017 is widely credited to Luzon-based and Jakarta-based transactions.

The 2018 Indonesia Food & Beverage Expo is part of their efforts to discourage third party and ‘back door’ dealings in Mindanao to bolster greater bilateral economic gains.

Open to the public, the expo is an improvement from last year’s Indonesian Expo because its venue makes it more accessible to the public and it now highlights business matching to provide better opportunities for commercial networking in the food and beverage industries.

Everyday activities on the event include booth contests with prizes, cultural performances by Davao-based dancers and the showcase of an Indonesian Food corner where visitors would get a chance to taste authentic Indonesian food.

Additionally, the expo will also be a platform for the Indonesian Consulate to promote the 2018 Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) in Tangerang, Indonesia where over 100 countries convene to celebrate general products of the country.

With an estimated foot traffic of about 120,000 – 150,000, a minimum of 20 companies are required for Mindanao’s delegation to be confirmed in the TEI.

A business to business meeting will be hosted a day prior to the expo, June 28, at Marco Polo Hotel from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.

Wahyu Permana of the Indonesian Consulate’s Economic Sector confirmed that 21 Indonesian companies will meet up with over 40 Davao and Mindanao-based businesses to discuss potential trading partnerships.

Last year’s Indonesian Expo resulted to about $112, 000 worth of initial deals and $2.9 million of production contracts.

Given the initiatives to foster bilateral business networking, the Consulate General of Indonesia hoped for an increase in these numbers.

Napitupulu thanked the support of Mindanao Davao Authority, Department of Trades and Industry, and the City Council of Davao in the continual endeavors to strengthen Indonesian relations.

Aside from the primary objective of the event, the Indonesian Consul General pointed out that the 2nd Indonesia Food & Beverage Expo would also aid in increasing the load factor in the shipment under the Davao-General Santos-Bitung trade route.

The M/V Super Roro Shuttle 12 intended for the said trade expedition set sail last May 2017 yet unfortunately, as Napitupulu revealed, that voyage became its first and last.

He then told the media that a smaller Indonesian Roro shipping vessel substituted the 5000-unit Super Shuttle Roro was still unsuccessful in establishing significant trading achievements for both parties.

Temporarily inactive, the trading route was supposed to be the cheapest and most efficient means for direct good exchange but since businessmen opted the ‘old’ mode of transaction, the only solution for the lack of cargo load would be for a private sector consolidator to facilitate operations.

Notably, an Indonesian trading company called PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PPI) has already expressed interest in the consolidation role however a Mindanao counterpart is yet identified.

When asked about the proposed Zamboanga-Kalimantan Sea route venture, Napitupulu said that their office has ‘learned their lesson’ and recommends for proper feasibility studies to be conducted before the project would be approved. (davaotoday.com)

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