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Davao City, Philippines

Taiwan Expo organizers, exhibitors help Mindanao earthquake victims

November 12, 2019 - Tuesday 6:11 PM by Judy Quiros

Article Banner Image TAITRA and MOEA officials together with Mindanao officials. At the center are James Huang and Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas

The recent series of strong earthquakes in Mindanao did not dampen the spirit of Taiwan economic leaders and Taiwanese business owners, who decided to push through with the two-day Taiwan Expo 2019 at the SMX Convention Center on November 8 and 9.

As TAITRA chairman James C.F. Huang said in his talk at the opening of the expo, the event was being held “at a time when the island of Mindanao was tested by mother nature.”

James Huang delivers his speech at the Taiwan Expo 2019 opening ceremony with the expo’s logo and Davao City Hall as backdrop

“Some of our friends advised us to postpone the expo in Davao due to security reasons, but I say no, I told them that we must come, we should come and stand by the people of the Philippines. Today we are with Filipinos, we are a family,” he said.

He said in their hotel rooms in Manila before proceeding to Davao, they experienced the 5.7 magnitude earthquake that hit the island of Quezon on November 7. But again, the tremor did not in any way prevent them from proceeding to Davao. Huang even said they are used to earthquakes back in Taiwan.

TAITRA Chairman James C.F. Huang in a media interview

During the opening ceremony, it was announced that TAITRA and the Taiwanese business exhibitors  were able to raise about P1.7 million in donations for the thousands of families affected by the powerful earthquakes in Mindanao, particularly North Cotabato and Davao del Sur, the hardest hit by the quake.

It was the second expo in the Philippines, the first being in Manila in 2017. The expo was Organized by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to pave the way for Taiwanese companies to explore business opportunities with their counterparts in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Taiwan’s famous TAGather bags

Up to 100 Taiwan exhibitors attended the Davao expo and showcased their country's expertise in various industries such as technology, agriculture, design, medical care, education, and tourism.

What Taiwan is famous for: Bubble Tea

“This is the first time organizers decided to bring the expo to Davao, an emerging city in the Philippines and the capital of Mindanao. The Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Investments are flowing in, industries are booming. It is becoming the new economic powerhouse in ASEAN,” Huang said during the expo’s opening ceremony which was attended by various government officials in both Taiwan and Davao.

In an interview at the sidelines of the opening ceremony, Huang said they chose Davao because it is “top in Southern Philippines in terms of agriculture and tourism which are the engines of regional growth.”

Exhibitors show off their products

Huang cited the 7 percent economic growth of Davao City which is higher than the national level of 6.7 percent. He said it is also higher than other Asian countries.

The Taiwan government and business groups are eyeing business opportunities and partnerships with Davao business groups to develop smart agriculture, smart fishery, and smart solutions, Huang said.

Agriculture and fisheries are two of Davao's most important industries, showing potential to become an innovation hub in various fields in this part of the country.

He said TAITRA, MOEA, and the participating Taiwan companies will be looking for business opportunities in Davao. The first step, he said, was the expo which also included business matching activities, one-on-one trade meetings, seminars, and forums on Taiwanese technological solutions, agriculture and fisheries. “Here in this great City of Davao, we see new beginnings, new hopes, and new dreams. Together we’ll make new journeys, seize new opportunities, and realize new prospects,” Huang said.

Taiwan skin and beauty products

With the Taiwan expo in Davao, organizers are optimistic that bilateral relations between Taiwan and the Philippines can go further in business, tourism, industries, and any other field. “Since the launch of the visa waiver program in 2017, visitors from the Philippines to Taiwan have greatly increased. In 2018, visitors from the Philippines grew exponentially. The highest of all countries. Taiwanese tourists were the Philippine's 6th largest source of foreign tourists last year,” TAITRA stated.

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