ILOILO —Russian Ambassador Igor A. Khovaev is inviting Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. to visit Moscow as talks on possible trade and cultural ties steamed during his recent courtesy visit here.
“It’s time to strengthen our economic ties. You can send a trade mission to Russia and we’ll see what we can do. We will our best to explore every opportunity,” Khovaev told Defensor.
In response, the chief executive said he would look into it. In fact, Defensor was supposed to go to Russia on June 2008 but it was postponed when Typhoon Frank hit Iloilo.
“I lost my change to go to Russia because of [Typhoon] Frank. Six huge bridges were destroyed and I have to help in the rehabilitation,” recalled Defensor, who was then an assemblyman.
He then briefly explained the investment opportunities in Iloilo, especially on eco-tourism, agri-business, food production and real estate development in the province.
He also mentioned the proposed economic zones in Dumangas, as well as the ongoing government and private-led projects ensuring steady and reliable supply on power and water in Iloilo.
“We are encouraging more investments in agriculture and eco-tourism in order to boost the province’s economy,” Defensor said noting that Iloilo has a potential to export fruits and vegetables to Russia during winter.
Russia is 27th largest trading partner of Philippines since diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1976.
Among the products we export to their country are semiconductors and electronic parts, seafood, transport equipment, beer, processed food, garments, copper, coconut oil and fruits.
At present, tropical fruits have a growing demand in Russia, according to Khovaev, whose favorite fruit is mango from Philippines because “it’s the most delicious”.
Khovaev, together with Vice Consul Maxim Ananyin, was in Iloilo City to witness the famous Dinagyang Festival, a cultural and religious celebration in honor of Holy Child Jesus. JAN