Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Press Release: PH eyed to become Japan’s fifth largest furniture exporter by 2019 at Manila FAME April

DTI-CITEM and Japan’s biggest management group ink MoU to boost PH-Japan trade relations

From Left to Right: Japan Management Association (JMA) representative Noriyasu Kamioki and their affiliate, Ikuzo Abeno, the chairman of Asia Furniture Forum, DTI-CITEM’s Executive Director Clayton Tugonon, along with DTI’s Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) Assistant Secretary Maria Cynthia Ricafort and Ma. Bernardita A. Mathay, FTSC commercial counselor in Tokyo, Japan.

To elevate the Philippines as the fifth largest furniture importer to Japan.


This is one of the goals of the newly forged partnership between a top Japanese business group, and the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in line with the growing bilateral trade relations between Japan and the Philippines under the Duterte administration.


The Japan Management Association (JMA) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Center for International Trade and Missions (DTI-CITEM), formalizing its support towards the country’s thriving home and lifestyle, and food sectors.


The signing was held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila during the first day of Manila FAME April between JMA’s representatives Ikuzo Abeno and Noriyasu Kamioki; and CITEM’s Executive Director Clayton Tugonon, along with DTI’s Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) Assistant Secretary Maria Cynthia Ricafort and Bernardita Mathay, FTSC representative in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are glad that DTI-CITEM, through Manila FAME, has been instrumental in making another milestone towards improving the trade relation between Japan and the Philippine. This partnership with JMA is a big boost to our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) given that Japan is the top export destination for our local products,” said Tugonon.


JMA is the largest Japanese management organization with over 1,300 corporate members and organizer of the Asia Furnishing Fair (AFF), contributing to improving the productivity and innovation of Japanese industries for 70 years through various activities, such as exhibitions for over 20 industries, conferences, training and education for executive and business people.


During the MOU signing, Abeno said he is expecting the Philippines to become the “fifth largest furniture importer to Japan after two years”. As of 2016, the Philippines ranks eighth among the furniture importers in Japan.


Abeno is the president of the Japan Furniture Manufacturers and Importers Association, which is the biggest furniture importer organization in Japan. He is also the also the chairman of the of Asia Furniture Forum (AFF) and the Chief Executive Officer of Tokyo Furniture Research Co. Ltd.


“Given the quality of Philippine products, Japanese buyers are interested in pursuing a long-term partnership that will make it easier for our countrymen and Philippine companies to explore new trade opportunities,” said Abeno in a seminar about approaching the Japanese market at Manila FAME.


Aside from Home and Lifestyle products, the top Japanese business group also promises to promote Philippine food products since JMA is the organizer of FOODEX Japan, which is the largest food show in East Asia.


Japan is the Philippines’ largest export destination for fresh foods and the second largest market for processed food, next to the United States.  Among the highly sought-after product in Japan are the Philippine bananas—accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total bananas circulating in the Japanese market.


Under the MOU, JMA promises to bring more Japanese trade buyers to DTI-CITEM’s signature export events, namely the Manila FAME and IFEX Philippines.


“To intensify promotions of the Philippine furniture and furnishings, home décor, gifts and other home and lifestyle products in Japan, [both parties look towards] increase attendance of Japanese buyers in CITEM signature events which will strengthen business relations, promote economic cooperation among the enterprises of the Philippines and Japan,” read the MOU.


Both parties also agreed to assist, facilitate and promote each other’s programs, including fairs exhibitions, missions, and conferences, as well as promote collaboration in the trade show business between the two organizations, such as product development, marketing, and promotions to the Japanese market.


JMA likely vowed to help in the product development of Philippine companies to fit the demand of the Japanese market. These companies are expected to showcase their products in this year’s Manila FAME October edition. For a wider exposure in Japan, the same products will be exhibited both at the AFF and the International Furniture Fair Tokyo (IFFT).  


As of 2016, Japan remains the country’s top export destination with its free trade agreements on specified products under the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).


The Philippines is also among the investment destinations deemed most promising by Japanese firms, the latest survey conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) showed.


JBIC’s Survey Report on Overseas Business Operations by Japanese Manufacturing Companies for fiscal year 2016 ranked the Philippines as the eighth most promising country/destination for overseas operations over the medium term.



The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is the proud organization of the Manila FAME—the second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific and the only trade event in the Philippines approved by the Union des Foires Internationales, a Paris-based association of trade fair organizations founded 90 years ago in Italy.


Manila FAME is a bi-annual sourcing platform of export-ready and finely crafted furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories. It showcased the best of the Philippine design and craftsmanship. For more information, please visit

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