Officials of the Quanzhou Municipal People’s Government from the Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China are encouraging businessmen from this city to join this year’s Quanzhou Maritime Silk Road International Brand Expo slated on April 18-21.

“We hope they can avail of this opportunity“

We ask Iloilo City to send more delegations, tourism agents to join our expo to promote Iloilo City,” said Wen Jinhui, Vice Secretary General of the Quanzhou Municipal People’s Government in an interview during their Iloilo City Trade Roadshow on Wednesday.

He said that Quanzhou’s economy is “quite good” and their people love to travel to other countries. The city has a population of 8.6 million.

“We also encourage our Quanzhou people to travel to Iloilo City. We have an 8.6 million population. If 10 percent of them would come to Iloilo this is huge already,” the Quanzhou official added.

The official said that it was their first time to invite the local businesses in this city to join the expo. However, once they sign a sisterhood agreement, then they will be inviting the city annually to “boost economic ties between the two cities”.

“This is the first time I came to Iloilo and this city is so impressive,” he stated as he urged the business sector to avail of the platform to promote Iloilo City.

In July last year, Quanzhou and this highly urbanised city signed a letter of intent to establish a friendly relationship.

During the signing of the letter of intent, Wang Ruiqiang who led the Quanzhou delegation, cited Iloilo City as among the major cities in the Philippines that is also among the major countries that lie along the 21st Maritime Silk Road.

The Maritime Silk Road was a reminder of the early trading between China and other countries through the sea route and one its main products was silk.

“Before silk is very famous in China. Only China can make good quality silk. They used this product to open the market overseas that’s why they call it silkroad,” Wen Jinhui explained.

“I hope Iloilo City can also catch this opportunity to help the economy in Iloilo City,” he added.

The Maritime Silk Expo sponsored by the Chinese government gathers delegates from about 30 countries to give them venue to promote their products.

Ma. Victoria Lara, executive director of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC), said that the expo is one very good opportunity as she hoped the city could send a good representation for a start.

“From our end we would like to see how they organise trade fairs,” she said, adding that it could be “learning experience” because this city is being pushed as meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibits (MICE) destination.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jose Espinosa III said that the city government will see how it can extend assistance to the business sector should they join the international expo.

“We will try to explore possibilities because we know that the Commission on Audit (COA) is very strict when it comes to international travel. We will try to see because this is also an opportunity for us,” he said.

He added that mostly of the Filipino-Chinese businessmen in this city have roots in Quanzhou, which is a very progressive city.

“Their interest to partner with us and their presence here is an indication that they are serious in our relationship with them. It’s good that our businessmen responded also,” he added.

The delegation from Quanzhou also included Liao Yabin – Vice Chairperson of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Quanzhou Branch, CCPIT Shishi Branch – Chairman Qiu Hanqing; Zhou Shiwei – General Manager of Quanzhou Huiyuan International Exhibition Co. Ltd, and Lin Hai of the General Office of Quanzhou Municipal People’s Government.