A GROUP of exhibitors from Iloilo is representing the Philippines in the 5th Quanzhou Maritime Silk Road International Brand Expo (MSREXPO) on April 18-21, showcasing local food, textile, and other fashion products.
“This is the first time that the Philippines is joining the expo and we will be participating and representing the Philippines. The products that we will be bringing will showcase what is unique to Iloilo,” Iloilo City Local Investment and Economic Promotion Office head Ritchel A. Gavan said in a news conference.
Iloilo City’s business leaders were invited by officials of the Quanzhou municipal government to join the expo after the two cities forged a friendship agreement in 2018.
Ms. Gavan said the event is an opportunity for Iloilo to introduce its products to the world.
“We are introducing products of Iloilo to the world, actually we are opening up to the rest of the world,” she said.
The Iloilo delegation will have five booths featuring food products like butterscotch, turmeric, and Balai Tablea’s chocolate products; a collection of hablon handwoven textile products from Jackie Peñalosa and Balai Hablon of Girlie Flores, and Hector Gellangarin; and goods made by the Women United Through Handcrafted Lace and Embroidery group.
Maria Victoria Lea Lara, executive director of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC), said these participants were chosen by the business community for being uniquely Iloilo.
“We wanted to make sure that the products we brought there are also unique, distinct for Iloilo. We hope that our products will also have a separate market,” she said.
Ms. Lara said participating in the event will be part of benchmarking initiatives by the IBC for export opportunities.
“It’s really benchmarking. It’s the first time (in an international event) after the city and the province have significantly developed, and we would also like to showcase how we fare in development, how products are being marketed and the preferences of international buyers,” she said.
Ms. Lara said they also want to see how Quanzhou was able to shape its local economy from being an old port city, like Iloilo, to one of China’s industrial cities.
“We are positioning ourselves as a MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibits) destination, so we would like to see how it is being handled, especially with international guests,” she added.
The 5th Quanzhou Maritime Silk Road International Brand Expo, to be held at the Shishi Clothing City Exhibition Art Center, is hosted by the China Chamber of International Commerce.
It is expected to have over 300 exhibitors,and to be attended by more than 20,000 buyers.
It will also have a series of forums and business-matching meetings. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo