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PHILIPPINES : Belgian ambassador wants local products exported to his country

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Visit. Ambassador Roland van Remoortele (left) of Belgium receives the token from Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III. Also in photo are (from right) Consul Enrique Benedicto and Remoortele’s wife Sylvia during a courtesy call at the Provincial Capitol. (Sun.Star Foto/Amper Campaña)

BELGIAN Ambassador Roland van Remoortele said he likes Cebu’s mango products, and there is a possibility that these can be exported to Belgium.

Remoortele visited Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday for a courtesy call as part of his three-day visit in the province. This is the second time that he came to Cebu and paid a visit to the governor since last year.

Davide and Remoortele discussed the developments in Cebu and Belgium as well as the things that the two officials can work on together.

Remoortele said he already tasted fruit juices in Cebu, which he cannot find in other areas like Manila.

He said he also found out last year that Cebu has produced chocolate-coated dried mangoes. He said that whenever he is in the country, he buys several boxes of this product and takes these back to Belgium.

The ambassador, however, said there are times that chocolate-coated dried mangoes are not available in Manila.

“There is something wrong with the distribution, marketing. I don’t know. So there are things to be done to improve the availability of products and produce because you should be proud of what you produced. I love fruits and so every time I come here I have to go back with mangoes and other things produced in the province,” Remoortele said.

He said the Philippines is now a beneficiary of the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (EU-GSP). 

This means that most products from the Philippines can now be exported to the countries under EU without levy or taxes.

“There is room for products in the Philippines to enter the European Union and Belgium, in particular,”
he said.

For his part, Davide said Belgium is looking at the possibility of a partnership with Cebu for the products it is producing. This is one aspect that the governor would discuss further with the ambassador.

Remoortele also saw the potential of furniture designs in Cebu.

He said the Belgian designers and Philippine producers may work together to make furniture products that are adaptive to the European market.

Remoortele said that the next time Belgium sends a business delegation to the Philippines, he will make sure that the delegates will come to Cebu and find out the opportunities they may work together.

“They should come to other places in the Philippines and especially Cebu, which is close to my heart because every time I come to Cebu I feel very much at home, I feel relaxed. I would even suggest that we move the capital from Manila to Cebu. And I would love to stay here rather than in congested Manila,” Remoortele said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2015.

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