The local packaging industry must be on par with international standards by continuously keeping tabs on trends, being on the lookout for new technologies and trying new designs, according to experts at a conference in the Philippines.

The 2012 GlobalPack International Packaging Conference, which was held from 24 to 27 July 2012 at the Sarabia Manor Convention Centre, Iloilo City in the Philippines, was initiated by Central Philippine University (CPU) in partnership with Systemat-PackEDGE.

CPU packaging engineering department coordinator Bernie Cangrejo said that a new vision for export packaging is needed that will identify opportunities, track market trends and take advantage of the buoyant Asian economies.

The export packaging industry in the Philippines has been growing steadily since 2009, reaching about P163.2m ($4m) at the end of 2011, while total merchandise exports in 2011 was estimated at P48bn ($1.14m), the National Statistics Office data revealed.

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the packaging sector plays a vital role in revving up the economy, particularly in exports, and packaging development can be accelerated by increasing competitiveness among local industries.

Department of Trade and Industry pushed for the increase in international marketability of local products by improving packaging and shipping methods.

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In an attempt to give local entrepreneurs a chance in the international market, the Philippines government has been placing more emphasis on packaging among products that are manufactured by small and medium-scale enterprises.

CPU started the development of packaging in the Philippines and established the Philippine Centre for Packaging Engineering and Technology recently.