Zimbabwe eyes strong trade and economic ties with China: official

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HARARE, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is looking at forging strong economic and trade ties with China particularly anchored on its vast potential in agriculture, the mainstay of the country's economy, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, James Manzou, told Xinhua in an interview that Zimbabwe will utilize the forthcoming China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo to explore ways of boosting the country's exports to China.

"The focus has been on identifying what China needs and one of the areas we are working on is the area of citrus exports from here to China. That's an area where the market is but there are also other commodities like tobacco which is a major export that can be further developed," Manzou said.

The inaugural expo is scheduled for June 27-29 in central China's Hunan Province.

The bi-annual expo has been established under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation as a new mechanism for economic and trade cooperation between China and African countries.

China has been the biggest buyer of Zimbabwe's tobacco for several years, and has also been a major funder of the production of the crop through contract farming.

The Chinese funding in tobacco production has largely helped to lift the country's production, which plummeted to an all-time low of 48 million kg in 2008, to a record high of 252 million kg in 2018.

Manzou said there are opportunities for the Chinese to grow some of the crops in the country for export.

"We have other agricultural products that China can grow here because we have a beautiful climate which is very good for agriculture."

He said there are also other potential areas of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, including mining and tourism.

"There are a number of Chinese companies already operating in our mining sector but tourism is also a low hanging fruit," Manzou said. Enditem

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