Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions: Best Export Promotion Agency Southeast Asia 2022


The Tagalog word malasakit has no direct translation in English, but an approximate definition might be to “care for something (someone) as if it were one’s own.” The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) works primarily — 99 percent — with micro and small businesses across the Philippines. Malasakit is a common concept at CITEM, where team members focus on creating a superior user experience and empowering customers to reach a wider audience. CITEM offers handholding support to businesses, assisting with content creation, protocol development and technology evaluation. The heart of CITEM is its people: employees, business partners and community stakeholders. When Covid shut down in-person conferences, CITEM turned to digitalisation to showcase local talents. The Philippines is considered one of the social media capitals of the world, giving CITEM a direct pipeline to a well-developed creative industry. CITEM aims to put the Philippines on the global map as a creative hub with a reputation for digital skills as well as artisanal and bespoke workmanship. It has brought Manila FAME — the home, fashion, and lifestyle trade show running since 1983 — into the digital sphere with FAME+. There Philippine MSMEs and artisans will find virtual versions of the networking and capacity-building support provided at the bi-annual trade show. CITEM initiated a conference promoting the Philippine creative industries in June 2021, a food industry forum and expo in September 2021, and a digital exhibition and conference on sustainability solutions in March 2022. The agency also launched dedicated online platforms promoting the country’s food, creatives, and sustainable solutions industries. The jury presents CITEM with the 2022 Best Export Promotion Agency (Southeast Asia) award.