Roundup: Ethiopians hail China's import expo as platform to boost trade

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 3, 2018
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by Habtamu Worku, Wang Shoubao

ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- As Ethiopians envisage in finding better destinations for the country's agricultural products, an import expo to be held in China has presented a good opportunity to explore the market in the most populous country in the world.

The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10. Ethiopian exporters have expressed hope that they will be able to boost their presence in the Chinese market.

Ethiopia's delegation, comprising of representatives from various government agencies, would primarily showcase the country's potential in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism as well as trade, the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade said recently.

Among agricultural commodities that the Ethiopian government and private sectors aspire to further promote in the Chinese market include pulses, oilseeds, spices and coffee, which are considered as the backbone of the country's economy. Haile Berhe, president of Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), told Xinhua that he hoped the CIIE would further foster Ethiopia's share in the Chinese market.

"The Chinese market is very important for Ethiopia's major export commodities such as sesame," Berhe said.

It's very difficult to imagine a scenario where the Chinese market is not among the destinations of Ethiopian products, Berhe added.

Sesame, one of Ethiopia's top export commodities after coffee, has in recent years attracted the attention of Chinese businessmen.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently announced that the sesame production during the current 2018-2019 fiscal year will reach 350,000 tonnes, which will bring some 500 million U.S. dollars for the East African country.

According to EPOSPEA's statistics, China bought about 70 percent of Ethiopia's sesame export in the past decade.

Established in 1998, the EPOSPEA has pledged to maintain and further strengthen the relationship between its members and their Chinese counterparts.

"The Chinese market is already very important for our major export commodities, yet we also believe that there is still room for further strengthening our presence there," Berhe said.

"Our association, with more than 130 active members, have encouraged our members to participate in the CIIE as well as other trade fairs and expos so as to assess opportunities that are available in linking with our Chinese counterparts," he added.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian delegation is expected to heavily market coffee at the upcoming CIIE.

The country, which earned a record 866 million dollars from the export of coffee during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, expects to increase the revenue by increasing its share in the Chinese market.

Alfoz Plc, one of the leading Ethiopian agro-processing company engaged in coffee harvest, processing and export, is one of the high-profile private firms to take part in the expo.

"We have conducted studies recently and we have found out that there is a vast coffee market in China," Yohanis Addis, Alfoz Plc's sales and marketing manager, told Xinhua.

"We believe that the CIIE is an ideal opportunity for us to meet with potential Chinese counterparts who would collaborate with us in order to effectively explore in the Chinese market," he added.

As Ethiopia currently aspires to further strengthen its exports, China has already proven to be one of the major export destinations for Ethiopian goods.

Ethiopia, during the 2017-2018 fiscal year that ended on July 8, has already exported goods worth about 245 million dollars to China, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade.

Wondimu Filate, head of Public Relations and Communication Affairs Office of the ministry, told Xinhua that Ethiopia's exports to China has steadily increased with the help of bilateral and multilateral events such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Filate said that besides agricultural goods, Ethiopia's export of industrial and mineral products is also on the rise. Enditem

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