by Rene Quenallata Paredes
LA PAZ, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's first-ever import fair presents "an unmissable opportunity" to capture a slice of the massive Chinese consumer market, a Bolivian trade official said.
"China's economy is developing constantly at a growth rate that is above the global average," Bolivian Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration Clarems Endara said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"We have information that China expects to import goods and services worth 10 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years. Without a doubt, that is a record figure in global imports," said Endara.
With that in mind, Bolivia is determined to take advantage of the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE), to be held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10.
One of South America's emerging economies, Bolivia is hoping to promote its brands among Chinese wholesalers and distributors who will be attending the expo, and awaken their interest in its exports.
Once trade flows to China are established, the Asian giant can serve as a stepping stone to other East Asian markets, said Endara.
"Opening up more markets improves exports and contributes to economic growth," said the official.
Seven Bolivian food manufacturers will present their products at the Shanghai import expo, including makers of quinoa, the popular protein- and mineral-rich Andean super food, sesame seeds, coffee, chia, Brazil nuts, beef and tea blends.
In recent years, the administration of Bolivian President Evo Morales has taken steps to give his country's exporters, especially of agricultural goods, greater access to China's market.
"In the past year, we signed sanitary protocols with China to export quinoa and coffee," said Endara.
"By the end of this term, we expect to sign protocols for the exportation of soy and beef," added Endara.
Bolivian Brazil nuts and sesame seeds have also gained access to China's market, and in March, officials began the process of allowing chia exports.
Bolivia's Ministry of Cultures will be participating in the event to promote the country as a tourism destination.
"We will show videos of Bolivia, its wealth of cultural and tourism attractions, and the achievements of its government, as well as the large-scale projects to be carried out by 2025," said Endara.
On Nov. 7, Bolivia is scheduled to present its country brand, "Heart of the South", highlighting its leading exports, top tourism attractions and investment opportunities.