Filipino traders return to South Africa to build business

Export Marketing Bureau director of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry, Senen Perlada.

Strategic positioning, ease of communication, and shared business values all contributed to convincing a trade delegation from the Philippines to return to South Africa recently.

Hosted by the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCC), the delegation was made up of several entrepreneurs from that country’s SMME sector including representatives from clothing and food businesses centred mainly in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

The delegation was initiated and led by Senen Perlada, Export Marketing Bureau director of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry, who said the decision to come back to South Africa was based on the success of a scoping mission last year.

He said they had identified “a lot of opportunities for small and medium enterprises that are not part of the main-stream economy”, adding that “we would like to foster trade with local companies that have local products going into the mainstream market.”

According to Perlada one of the most attractive aspects of South Africa, in addition to “common business practices that we share”, is its position in relation to other SADC members and sub-Saharan countries further afield.

He furthermore stressed that he hoped the visit would encourage an inbound delegation from South Africa to the Philippines.

Perlada especially pointed out that raw commodities and intermediate products could present South African traders with significant opportunities in the Philippines.

Hopes are high that local interest in trade with the Philippines will help to increase the current trade figure of South Africa with the South China Sea archipelago.

Stats used by Perlada showed that SA’s exports to his country stood at $56.32m compared to Filipino exports to these shores totalling $199m.

“We are interested in strengthening the supply chain between the two countries.”

Asked whether the Philippines exported directly to South Africa he said not to his knowledge, “but if you build it we will come”.

Head of the JCCI’s International Trade division, Bernadette Zeiler, remarked on the success of the visit adding that it made for a good opportunity to establish business-to-business relationships.

Watch part of the interview with Senen Perlada and Bernadette Zeiler:

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