Manila FAME International Promotes Innovative Designs From SMEs

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To make a strong impact in the international market, one must never underestimate the value of good design, quality production, and competitive pricing. This has always been the guiding principle of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions agency of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry in staging Manila F.A.M.E. International, its bi-annual trade show on housewares, furnishings, holiday décor, and fashion accessories.

CITEM has successfully staged 42 editions of the show in the last 23 years, and attracted thousands of buyers worldwide by unveiling innovative products season after season. This has spurred the growth of Philippine exports, eventually carving a niche for the country in the global design arena. Manila FAME is scheduled on 19-22 April and 17-20 October 2006.

Remarkable accomplishments as they are, CITEM management readily acknowledges that it is the assistance it has given to thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that makes Manila F.A.M.E. International a more noteworthy endeavor.

Since it was launched in 1983, Manila F.A.M.E. International has introduced thousands of local entrepreneurs, most with little or no experience in the export business, into the international trade fair circuit.

According to Trade Assistant Secretary Fe Agoncillo-Reyes, “Manila FAME is not just an opportunity for the country to showcase its new design ideas for the international market; it is also a venue to boost opportunities for our SMEs by tapping into their creativity and exporting potential.”

Manila FAME International helped these SMEs

Makvel Enterprises is one of the long-time and most successful exhibitors of Manila F.A.M.E. It pioneered the production of colorful lanterns made of capiz, which it now exports to the USA, Asia, and Europe.

Its president and general manager, Virgilio Sanchez, readily gives credit to CITEM for all the company has achieved. “CITEM opened a lot of doors for me. When I was just starting, they persuaded me to join Manila F.A.M.E., and eventually other trade shows in the U.S., Europe and Australia.”

With much help from CITEM, he founded the Christmas Décor Association in 1987 (and was president for 7 years), which paved the way for a huge growth in the export of holiday décor. “When we started the association, total exports for the sub-sector was just about U$6 Million; a little over a decade later, the country was exporting a total of U$120 Million to the global market.” Today, Makvel Enterprises continues to be one of Manila F.A.M.E. International’s most loyal exhibitors, and staunch supporters of the Philippine holiday décor industry.

Renato Vidal, owner of First Binhi Crafts, also readily acknowledges the vital role CITEM has played in the success he has achieved. The company has been participating in Manila F.A.M.E. International since 1989, and continues to be one of the top-selling exhibitors at the fair. It now exports to countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and key cities in the USA. Its exposure to new designs and market trends via its participation in trade shows held abroad (which CITEM organized) has enabled First Binhi Crafts to win several international awards, including the UNESCO-AHPADA Seal of Excellence.

GSG Industries, a successful company that pioneered the production of handmade paper in the country, also got its big break from CITEM. Designed in a wide range of colors that is reminiscent of Filipino fiestas, GSG’s handmade papers are rich in textures of abaca, salago, mango and tamarind leaves, and madre de cacao, among others.

A few months after the company was established, GSG joined the 1st Papel Likhang Kamay organized by CITEM and the Federation of Handmade Paper Makers and Converters (FEHPA), where it received many orders. The initial success of this undertaking prompted GSG to join the Premiere Paperworld Fair in Frankfurt, Germany in 1993 with the help of CITEM. Following the success of their first international fair participation, GSG joined Manila F.A.M.E. International in the same year. This started a whirlwind of activities for the company and more than a decade of relationship with foreign buyers from all over the world. At present, the company employs 150 people in its operations, maintenance, and production divisions.

With Manila F.A.M.E. International, there is greater chance for small handicrafts companies whose products could be the new toasts of buyers to finally break into the export market.

“And it works both ways,” says Agoncillo-Reyes. “The companies get their much-deserved break and buyers take home a good find. The beauty of joining Manila F.A.M.E. International is that it empowers SMEs, giving them the opportunity to grow by working with their innate strengths.”

As the buying season for the best finds commence this April, the offerings of this edition’s Manila F.A.M.E. International exhibitors will get their well-deserved international exposure, and it definitely won’t be long until their products will be shipped worldwide and take pride of place in international homes.


Center For International Trade Expositions And Missions

Golden Shell Pavilion, Roxas Boulevard cor. Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue

1300 Pasay City, Philippines

Telephone: (632) 831-2201 to 09    

Fax: (632) 832-3965 / 834-0177    



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Lourdes Ilusorio
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