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Colombia hopes to take advantage of China's agricultural opportunities

The agreement of the Pacific Alliance involves deep integration of its members with the Asian Pacific, which obviously includes China. However, only Chile and Peru are better related to the Asian giant thanks to their FTAs, making it clear that Colombia still has a long way to go in terms of exports.

It is well known that China is a country that requires a greater amount of agricultural products, however, Colombia is wasting this huge opportunity, as only 0.1% of its exports correspond to this type of product.

"China is Colombia's number two trading partner. If we make a classification by countries, we currently export about 5,000 million dollars to China and import about 14,000 million from them. Our exports are concentrated in oil and ferronickel, i.e. raw materials," said Ricardo Duarte, president of the board of the Colombian-Chinese Chamber of Investment and Trade.

Duarte also said that, "we're all aware that China is a great consumer of food products and Colombia could be an excellent provider, we have a great challenge."

The UN news agency said that, while the Asian giant had invested 100,000 million dollars in Latin America from 2005 to date, Chinese investment in Colombia had been low during the last ten years.

"Regarding the financial cooperation, we notice that China has contributed about 100,000 million dollars to Latin America and, our records show, only $75 million dollars to Colombia in 2009," said Duarte.

Colombian exports to China increased from 30 million dollars in 2002 to 3,343 million dollars in 2012, 0.2 % of what the Asian country buys worldwide and 5.6% of what Colombia sales to the world, says the site.

As such, Duarte said, there still is much ground to be covered with China. Hence, he recommended, strengthening the diversification of the export portfolio throughout the production chain, which would increase agricultural exports. This also means getting Chinese companies involved in Colombia's production, another challenge for the country.

Duarte said that, "since, negotiating and enforcing a free trade agreement between China and Colombia would likely take more than a decade, the Pacific Alliance will be the regional scheme that favours integration between Colombian and this country."

Finally, Duarte called the industry to implement strategies to attract Chinese investment in sectors in which both countries are interested in, such as energy, infrastructure and agribusiness.

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

Publication date: 4/22/2014


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