ILOILO CITY — Officials from Quanzhou, a major port city in China’s Fujian province, are returning to Iloilo City with potential investors and to discuss possible direct trade links between the two cities.

This comes after the participation of Iloilo as the sole Philippine representative at the 5th Quanzhou Maritime Silk Road International Brand Expo last April 18-21.

“They will be coming in to bring possible investors here in the city,” said Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III, who led the delegation composed of representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Panay, Inc., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo, and the Iloilo provincial government.

Iloilo had five booths at the expo promoting local food such as butterscotch and Balai Tablea goods; hablon (local weaving) collection of Jackie Peñalosa, Balai Hablon of Girlie Flores, collection of Hector Gellangarin; and products of the Women United Through Handcrafted Lace and Embroidery.

The Iloilo business sector was personally invited to participate in the event by officials of the Quanzhou Municipal People’s Government during a visit in 2018.

Mr. Espinosa said the city is now looking at China as a top market for local products as well as source of materials, and they aim to achieve this by forging closer bilateral ties with Quanzou.

“Once we tie up, it can lower down the prices of products from China, especially textiles. It will be a really big help on the purchasing power of Ilonggos,” he said.

The international expo was participated in by around 300 exhibitors from over 40 countries and regions, with more than 20,000 professional buyers in attendance. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo