Zimbabwe should leverage on its huge potential and ramp up exports to China, which is home to 1.4 billion people, the incoming Chinese Ambassador Mr Zhou Ding said.
Boasting of the world’s largest population — a growing middle and upper class — China has been one of Zimbabwe’s most faithful friends investing billions in key sectors of the economy such as mining and agriculture.
Last year, trade between Zimbabwe and China surged 29.2 percent year-on-year to a record high of US$2.43 billion.
During that period, Zimbabwe exported US$1.3 billion of goods to China and imported US$1.13 billion worth of goods from China, the embassy tweeted.
China mainly imports from Zimbabwe tobacco leaf, processed tobacco, ferroalloys and chromium ore.
Over the past year, China has made major investments in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and mining projects, as the two countries continue to boost economic and trade ties.
And that can only be increased according to Mr Zhou, who previously served as China’s Ambassador to Albania.
Speaking after presenting his credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House, Ambassador Zhou said Zimbabwe has great potential to increase exports to China.
“Zimbabwe is such a beautiful country with huge potential for future development, I spoke to the President, not just about our past, but our future relations and the potential, and also cooperation. We are very proud of our history and achievements,” said Ambassador Zhou.
Describing President Mnangagwa as a legendary leader, who has transformed Zimbabwe in a short space of time, Ambassador Zhou said he will use his tenure in the country to invite more Chinese investors and also tourists.
“The President is a very legendary leader. As an ambassador, I look forward to learning from his experience. It is a privilege. The Chinese investment has increased, not only in the mining sector but also we are importing more of Zimbabwean products to China.
“We just finalised the deal of importing Zimbabwean citrus fruits to China, and there is huge potential, not only in the mining industry. We want to import more Zimbabwean products and we also welcome Zimbabwean students to visit China. We are also inviting Chinese tourists to come to Zimbabwe. I am very optimistic that these profound relations will only improve,” said Ambassador Zhou.
In a major development for Zimbabwean citrus farmers, the General Administration of Customs of China recently released a list of registered Zimbabwean orchards and packhouses for fresh citrus exports to China.
The Government of Zimbabwe and China finalised the citrus trade protocol last year that is meant to facilitate exports of citrus products to the Asian country in order to broaden market scope for Zimbabwe.