Interview: Import expo signals China's commitment to free trade, multilateralism, says expert

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-12 17:17:31|Editor: Xiang Bo
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BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) is a clear signal of the country's commitment to unfettered free trade and multilateral mechanisms, said Argentine political observer Patricio Giusto.

"The expo sends a strong message from China in favor of free trade and multilateralism," the public policy expert and head of consulting firm Diagnostico Politico (Political Diagnosis) told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China is clearly established as the beacon of international trade in the face of the increasing protectionist tendency of the United States, said Giusto.

"Fortunately for the world, China has opted to continue deepening its process of reform and opening up in this emblematic year marking the 40th anniversary of the launch of those policies," said the expert.

That's "fundamental for Argentina, which needs to expand its exports to generate more real foreign revenue," said Giusto.

The expo stands to benefit producers in many countries, given China's current growth and consumption rates.

"The doors of the expo," to be held from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai, "are open to all countries and companies that want to participate," he noted.

More than 2,800 companies have registered to take part in the expo so far, including 200 from the list of the Fortune Global 500. Occupying some 270,000 square meters of exposition space, these companies represent 130 countries and regions across five continents.

Sending several ministers to China in the lead-up to the expo, Argentine President Mauricio Macri "has made it (the expo) one of his priorities," said Giusto.

According to the Argentine Investment and International Trade Agency, some 50 national companies are set to attend, from wineries to producers of honey, olive oil, rice and garbanzos.

"We have to underscore the enormous potential of the entire gamut of food," said Giusto.

"Fine fruit and seafood products are two sectors with the highest chances of growth in China, with incalculable projected demand on the part of Chinese consumers," he said.

The expo is also taking place at an opportune time for the South American country, following "the historic" announcement that China has opened its doors to Argentine frozen and chilled bone-in meats.

"I hope Argentina's government can make the most of this great opportunity," said Giusto.

China is Argentina's leading export market for agricultural goods, including cooking oil, soy, beef, poultry, wine and dairy, and the two countries are negotiating the entry of lamb, pork, honey, wheat, cherries and other products.

Overall, China is Argentina's second-biggest trade partner, after neighboring Brazil, with bilateral exchange reaching about 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, according to China's customs authority.

More than 160,000 buyers from domestic and foreign companies have registered for the expo.

Organizers say some 40 companies from countries such as the United States, France, Germany and Japan, have already reserved their stand for the second edition of expo.

KEY WORDS: Import expo