China’s annual trade with Latin America is now worth over a quarter of a billion dollars. But Beijing said, there’s room for more. CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg has more from Shanghai.
The beats of Bahia, Brazil. The drinks of the Dominican Republic and the llamas of Lima, Peru.
Latin American nations are making a strong showing at the China International Import Expo, with the region’s two most populous countries – Brazil and Mexico – showcased as “Guests of Honor.”
Exhibitors said they are here to diversify their global pool of buyers.
“We concentrate 80 percent of our exports to the US and Canada,” Agustin Garcia with the Mexican Export Council, said. “Mainly the US, and we want to know more markets in order to promote our products around the world, and China is one of the most important.”
Garcia said, in China, popular Mexican products can find new uses.
“Avocado, as we know it in Mexico, is like a traditional product. Here in China, they change it a little bit. They call it a super-food product. So we are looking for that.”
Brazilian businesses agree. The message here though is it’s not just about supplying China, but also sustaining its people.
“In China before, maybe they wanted to just eat, to just feed the body. Now they want to care more about the skin, their hair, not only cosmetics, but also the body itself to improve the consumption of health products, ” remarked Ricardo Kono, the Export Manager at Maxinutri.
President Xi Jinping has already made a handful of visits to Latin America, and sees the region’s integration with China a key part of his signature belt and road initiative. So, China’s investing more and more in Latin American infrastructure, and buying more and more Latin American goods.
And, signing more and more deals. A new free trade agreement with Chile has removed nearly all duties on goods coming to China.
“In a time when some governments are talking about protectionism, China and Chile agreed on the importance of free trade, open markets, and also multilateralism,” said Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero. “And in this sense, we are working very close together.”
And, and in some sectors, it’s already paying off. China is now the second biggest destination for Chilean wine.
“China loves Chilean wine, I’m sure. And Chilean people love Chinese consumers,” said Marcelo Ariztia, a Chilean exporter.
With China’s changing palette and pocketbook – the market is expected to grow.
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