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Taiwan pulls out of PH food expo

MANILA, Philippines — Sixteen Taiwan-based exhibitors pulled out of the 9th International Food Expo (IFEX) in Pasay City on Thursday amid bilateral tension between the Philippines and Taiwan over the death of a fisherman.

An S70-C helicopter takes off from the stern of a Taiwanese Lafayette frigate during exercises off the southern city of Kaohsiung,Taiwan Thursday, May 16, 2013. Taiwan staged a previously scheduled military exercise in the Bashi Strait Thursday, after the United States on Wednesday expressed concern about increasing tensions between the Philippines and Taiwan, following the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippines coast guard personnel. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Just as buyers from big-name retail and food service firms such as Harrods of the UK and Sysco Corp. of the US participated in the Philippines’ premier food and ingredients trade show, only a few packages of Taipei-made mochi (glutinous rice cakes with sweet filling), canned food, noodles, and flavorings were on the shelves at the Taiwan booth as of the trade show opening on Thursday morning and were already being placed back into boxes as of this writing.

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The IFEX is co-organized by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture and is held every two years.

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo confirmed the pull-out, citing a report by the DTI’s marketing arm, the Center for International Trade

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Expositions and Missions (CITEM). “We were advised but it was too late to take out the booth,” Domingo said. “We cannot blame the exhibitors because the timing of the trade show just happened to be close to when bilateral tensions broke out. However, when things cool down and they still want to do business with the Philippines, they are still welcome.”

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the pull-out was unfortunate but said Taiwan business people would still be welcome to trade with the Philippines later upon the cooling of issues. “Bilateral tensions take place but we hope it does not escalate and we are optimistic that things can be smoothed out eventually. We would appreciate if both sides do not make the issue bigger because both sides will feel the effects.”

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), which facilitated the exhibitors’ participation, called exhibitors Wednesday night ordering the pullout, according to volunteers packing up at the Taiwan booth at IFEX. The volunteers, who asked to be left anonymous for lack of authority to speak on behalf of the Taiwan government, said the exhibitors had already paid for their space and had their goods ready for display.

Representatives from the 16 exhibitors — the largest of which was Royal Family Food Co. Ltd., are set to leave Manila on Thursday night, according to the volunteers.

Aside from Royal Family Food, the other exhibitors are Diing Yuh Foods Co. Ltd.; Golden Howard Foods Trading Co. Ltd.; Haw-Di Foods Co. Ltd.; JNY Co. Ltd.; Jia Tien Industrial Co. Ltd.; New Cheng Corp.; Shih-Chuan Excellence Food Co. Ltd.; Speed Delivery Co. Ltd.; Sunnano Biotech Inc.; Tai Ping Yang Food Factory; Taiwan Confectionery, Biscuit and Floury Food Industry Association; Taiwan External Trade Development Council; Taiwan Fructose Co. Ltd.; Taiwan Star Industrial Inc.; and Totempak Solutions Co. Ltd.

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TAGS: 9th International Food Expo, death of foreign nationals, Diplomacy, expositions, Global Nation, IFEX, International relations, International Trade, intrusions, maritime security, Philippines, Poaching, Taiwan
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