Envoy touts exploitation of Chinese market

TANZANIANS, especially commodity producers and service providers, stand a good chance to prosper if they fully exploit the rising Chinese market, with the first international exhibition to allow them showcase their products pencilled for next year in Shanghai.

Tanzania Ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki said the event known as the First Importation Exposition, the first of its kind, was announced by the Chinese government last month with special focus on promoting commodities produced in countries that are members to the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

“Tanzania being a member to the OBOR initiative from Africa, must fully exploit this opportunity by organising and facilitating traders to showcase their products in Shanghai, next year,” Ambassador Kairuki insisted.

According to him, the decision to hold the event from November 5 – 8, next year, was announced by China Vice-Minister for Commerce and Representative of International Trade, Mr Fu Ziying.

The decision by the Chinese government to organise the exposition is an implementation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (pictured) promise to Heads of State from OBOR nations during the summit in Beijing in May, this year, of opening Chinese market to the outside world.

The top Tanzania diplomat in China explained that the trade fair will be divided into two sections. He said the first part will involve exposition of investment opportunities, trade and tourist attractions, while the second segment will allow participants to showcase commodities such as textile and food products, medical equipment, automobile, financial, legal and educational services.

According to Mr Kairuki, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chen Xiaodong announced to senior officials during the China-Africa Business Forum that China would come up with preferential treatment to developing countries, including African nations to be able to participate in the exhibitions.

“This is a golden chance for us to show case and market our products and services to the Chinese market. I call upon my fellow Tanzanians to fully exploitthis golden opportunity,” Ambassador Kairuki said.

According to the diplomat, there are a number of products favoured by Chinese people, including Dodoma wine, honey, coffee, cashewnut, tea, spices, cloves, cooking oil and beer.

He said the exhibitions would also provide a good platform for service providers such as Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), Kilimanjaro National Parks (Kinapa), tour operators and tourist hotels to market their services.

As opposed to other international expositions whereby only large scale businesspeople and service providers are given priority, the next year’s exposition in Shanghai will give preferential treatment to smallscale entrepreneurs including sculptors, artists and producers of kangas, Vikoy and Vitenges.

“We have only eleven months to prepare for the exhibitions. Individuals wishing to participate in the exhibitions should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation-China desk or the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (Tantrade) for directives,” he said.

On Thursday, Tanzania participated in the international forum for promotion of coffee in China (Coffee Expo), an event that also involved top twenty coffee producing countries in the world with Tanzania and Congo Brazzaville gracing the opening of the forum by giving speeches to promote the product and investment in Africa in general.

Tanzania Coffee Board and a businessman identified as Mr Dan Komba took part in the brief exhibition of the crop. During the expo, Ambassador Kairuki said, it was revealed that despite coffee being the leading export crop in 2016 it amounted for only 50,000 metric tonnes while Uganda exported 288,000 metric tonnes and Ethiopia exported 384,000 metric tonnes.

“There is a pressing need for us to boost exports and if possible learn from our colleagues in Uganda and Ethiopia. I understand there is an outcry over low prices, but we must ask ourselves why the crop in Uganda fetches good price as opposed to Tanzania,” he said.

Ambassador Kairuki’s insistence on promoting Tanzanian products on the Chinese market has come against the backdrop of reports of poor response by Tanzanian businesspersons, to exploit business opportunities offered by the Chinese government.

The Chinese government has invited Tanzanian farmers and businesspersons to supply dry cassava to its market for biofuel production. However, the opportunity is yet to be grabbed.