A 15-MEMBER trade mission will leave for Fujian, China on May 8 to promote the Davao Region as an investment destination and forge ties with Chinese business groups. Arturo M. Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII), told BusinessWorld the trade mission is composed of local company heads, among them Ferdinand Y. Maranon of agricultural firm Sagrex Corp. and Joji Ilagan-Bian of the Joji Ilagan Career Center. “The members of our delegation are top business executives in their own right, so we hope to generate enough buzz in luring Chinese investors to look at the possibilities not just in the city, but in the entire region,” Mr. Milan said. Mr. Milan said DCCCII has been receiving inquiries from Chinese investors, either through the Chinese Consulate or directly to the business chamber. Mr. Milan said DCCCII will sign a sisterhood agreement with the Fujian business group. “(Chinese) Consul General (to Davao City) Li Lin facilitated the sisterhood agreement with the Fujian group,” said Mr. Milan, noting that the Chinese official is from that region. DCCCII will also promote during the trip the Davao Investment Conference on June 20-21. Delegations from Shanghai and Fujian were supposed to join the Mindanao Business Conference in September 2018, but typhoon Mangkhut prevented the participants from making the trip. Mr. Milan said he hopes that “they will be able to attend (the June event) because we have prepared a presentation to convince them to invest in the city.”

Mr. Li, in a separate interview with BusinessWorld, said the trade mission is also intended to open more opportunities for the Davao business sector to tap into the Chinese market. “I am sure that local business people have already felt the influx of Chinese tourists and potential business partners for trade and commerce. Not only one direction to China, but we are encouraging two-way cooperation… Not only Jinjiang but also other cities in China,” he said, noting the direct Davao-Quanzhou flights that was launched last December. The envoy also said that China wants to strengthen economic cooperation not just with Davao, but the entire Mindanao islands. “Ever since the establishment of the Consulate General of China in Davao, we’ve been working with the city government of Davao and even Mindanao in terms of projects. We want to know more about your developments here. Through policy coordination, we want to meet the demand of the development of Davao City and Mindanao,” Mr. Li said, “With better understanding on the needs of the local people and government, then we can find a better way on the point for cooperation.” — Carmelito Q. Francisco and Maya M. Padillo