Saudi-Phillipine food production joint ventures in the cards

Saudi-Phillipine food production joint ventures in the cards

By Joe Avancena

DAMMAM – Saudi Arabia’s desire to secure its sources of food for its
citizens by establishing overseas joint ventures in food production has
received a positive response from a Philippine trade delegation.

delegation, promoting halal Filipino food products, made the assurance
during a meeting with the delegation of the Asharqia Chamber of
Commerce in the Eastern Province.

“We welcome the establishment of
joint ventures in food production with the Kingdom,” said Dr. Thomas G.
Aquino, Senior Deputy Minister, Philippines Ministry of Trade &
Industry, the head of the delegation.

According to Aquino, a
top-level Saudi agricultural mission headed by Fahd Bin Abdulrahman Bin
Suleiman Balghunaim, Saudi Minister of Agriculture, will visit the
Philippines, particularly Mindanao, in the first week of May to discuss
collaboration and partnership in establishing joint venture projects in
agricultural production.
One of the priorities of the Kingdom in
establishing joint overseas agricultural ventures is the production of
rice and other staple products.

Gil B. Herico, the agriculture
attaché at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, the UAE, said the
delegation will be composed of the biggest Saudi investors who are very
keen in setting up long-term agricultural ventures in the Philippines.
A. Al-Naeim, Secretary General of Asharqia Chambers, told the
delegation to consider cooperation in food processing in the Kingdom.

“I hope that members of your delegation will reap benefits of the
on-going trade and investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia generated
after the liberalization of its foreign investment regulations by
setting up joint ventures in food productions here,” he said.

Philippines bananas are among the popular exports to the Kingdom, amounting to SR270 million in 2007.

founding of the National Halal Accreditation Board of the Philippines
is another step in expanding exports of food items to the Kingdom and
other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries, according to Aleem Walid
Abubakar, chairman of the board.

He said the board supports the
Philippine government in its thrusts to develop and promote the halal
food industry. “We are very keen on strengthening our global
cooperation to promote the credibility of Philippine halal certified
products,” Abubakar said.

The two-way trade between the Kingdom
and the Philippines has gone up significantly in recent years. In 2007,
bilateral trade rose to SR13 billion, as compared to SR11.1 billion in
the previous year. During the period, Saudi imports from the
Philippines accounted for around SR0.5 billion, while Saudi export
totaled SR12.5 billion.

The trade delegation was composed of about a
dozen leading food producers. Members of the delegations who held
discussions with Saudi businessmen here included Senen M. Perlada,
Director at the DTI, trade representatives Paisal D. Abdullah and Jose
Ma. Dinsay, Labor Attaché David Des T. Dicang, and Rose Marie Castillio
and Rafael P. Montalvo Jr. of the DTI Bureau of Export Trade Promotion.