Trade deals with firms in Japan eyed – official

THE CITY government will help explore trade agreements between firms in the city and those that city officials and tourism stakeholders visited when they were in Japan early this month.

Among the products being explored for trade deals are specific types of processed cacao coming from Davao, food processing, cold storage for products such as bananas, as well as knowledge products such as training in English as a second language (ESL).

On the side of tourism, a Japanese delegation also wanted to experience the city’s adventure activities, aside from experiences in food, cultural heritage, and wildlife.

City administrator Zuleika Lopez said that the Japanese citizens also wanted to explore the local birds in the home of the Philippine Eagle.

Sister agreements will also be pursued between Davao City and several Japanese cities.

“We’re still discussing with their chambers of commerce,” Lopez said.

The city government is coordinating with a party of Japanese investors and tourism groups set to arrive in the next few weeks after a delegation of city government officials and tour operators visited four key cities in Japan last month.

In an interview, city administrator Zuleika Lopez said that both Japanese and Davao City governments are in the process of identifying dates of possible visits by Japanese nationals.

Lopez said that among the major issues of the Japanese delegation during the Davao delegation’s visit was still the city’s proximity to conflict areas, especially that the Marawi Siege was still ongoing during the trade mission.

However, this could change with the liberation of Marawi officially announced by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

“Their feedback was always the peace situation,” Lopez said.

However, the city official said that the Japanese officials were open to plans for visiting and investing with the right arrangements being made.

Among those who have heard about Davao City were the older corporate leaders in Japan who had roots in Davao City.

Davao had a “little Tokyo” during World War II, with a sizeable Japanese community living here during the 1940s.

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