CIIE expo to unlock opportunities in China

Business Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN companies should take advantage of the 2024 edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) to unlock more export opportunities in the Chinese market.

This was revealed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Acting Permanent Secretary Ambassador Rofina Chikava at the 7th CIIE promotion conference held in Harare on Monday.

To be held from November 5 to 10 in China’s financial city of Shanghai under the theme of “New Era, Shared Future”, CIIE aims to share China’s market opportunities with the whole world. From cutting-edge technology to exquisite craftsmanship, and high-quality products, the CIIE is a treasure trove of innovation and cooperation.

Zimbabwe has actively participated in international expos but the CIIE presents a bigger platform for showcasing the country’s products.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce last year led a delegation of more than 40 people to attend the 6th CIIE in Shanghai.

China is now a global leader in many key industries and strives to advance its economic progression on all fronts through high-quality development.

It is also a super-sized market given a big population of more than 1, 4 billion.

Zimbabwe’s economic ties with China have been growing lately.

In 2023, Zimbabwe and China marked a new milestone as trade between the two countries hit a record high of US$3,12 billion, reflecting a 29, 9 percent increase from the previous year.

Zimbabwe reportedly exported goods worth US$1, 71 billion to China and imported US$1, 41 billion from China, resulting in a trade surplus of US$307 million.

Main exports to China consisted of tobacco, salt, sulphur, earth, stone, plaster, lime and cement, iron and steel, nickel ores slag, and ash.

The bulk of imports from China were raw materials and machinery like boilers and mechanical equipment.

This surge in trade reflects an upward trajectory in the relations between the two countries and China is now Zimbabwe’s third-largest export destination and second-largest source market for imports.

While addressing delegates and company executives on behalf of Amb Chikava at the CIIE promotion conference, the director of international trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mr Kindon Gandani said Zimbabwe’s participation at the expo would deepen trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

“Not only does the CIIE promote our bilateral trade, it also facilitates countries from all over the world to strengthen economic cooperation, global trade promoting world economic growth.

“ I therefore encourage the entire Zimbabwean business community to prepare adequately and take advantage of the 7th CIIE to showcase their readiness to engage with the Chinese economy.

“Together, we can create a brighter future for all. Under this framework our cooperation will extend beyond Government projects to include private sector business engagements in the fields of trade and investment,.

Amb Chikava said China continued to create massive business opportunities for the whole world and Zimbabwe should take advantage of that to expand its export revenue, especially by supplying natural resources, including minerals and agricultural products.

She said Zimbabwe could benefit from China’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, technology, and expertise in various sectors such as infrastructure development, agriculture, and telecommunications.

“The promotion of trade between Zimbabwe and China presents a plethora of opportunities for both nations. By fostering stronger trade relations, both countries can unlock new avenues for economic growth and development. Let us seize the moment to strengthen our partnership and unlock the full potential of our economies for the benefit of our people.”

She highlighted the need to address issues like trade barriers, tariffs, and regulatory hurdles that may impede the flow of goods and services between our countries.

As it stands, Zimbabwe’s agricultural products including citrus fruits and macadamia nuts are exported to the Chinese market in large quantities and efforts are being directed at improving exports of avocado, blueberry, and dried chili over the short term.

China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Zhou Ding, said the expo allowed Zimbabwe to showcase its quality products and explore opportunities in the Chinese market.

“I hope that this year’s CIIE will further enhance our bilateral trade, deepen our fraternal relations, and deliver more benefits for our two countries and two peoples. I hope that Zimbabwe will fully leverage the CIIE platform to exhibit its premium and unique products and explore China’s huge market opportunities.

“I welcome all Zimbabwean friends and the Zimbabwean business community to leverage the opportunities arising from this,” said Amb Zhou.

Bilateral trade between China and Zimbabwe continues to grow, aided by continued investment in Zimbabwe’s agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and communication sectors by Chinese enterprises, a position that has immensely contributed to the generation of foreign currency and tax revenue, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.

ZimTrade chief executive officer Mr Allan Majuru said CIIE is one strategic expo that plays a positive role in deepening global economic and trade cooperation.

He said Zimbabwean baobab products garnered significant attraction at the previous expo, as the Chinese continue to seek healthier lifestyles after the ravages of Covid 19.

Companies in the leather sector also experienced the same and have managed to set up shop in the East Asian country.


“From the evaluation conducted by Zimtrade, there are indications that the authenticity and quality of Zimbabwean products attracted Chinese distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, companies, and individuals.

“Participation at such events has seen SMEs such as Bonjet and Simba Arts and Craft develop a foothold in the Chinese curios market supplying in places such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Huilong while companies like Global Taste and Bold and Active are now taking locally produced food products (Mazoe, baobab products etc) into the lucrative Chinese market,” said Mr Majuru.

China has been an engine for a global economy for many consecutive years, contributing 30 percent of world economic growth, in 2023, China’s GDP reached US$17,83 trillion, with a year-on-year increase of 5,2 percent.


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