A staff member prepares coffee for visitors at Ethiopia’s booth during the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2018. (Xinhua/ Shen Bohan)
The upcoming 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) presents huge opportunities for Ethiopia’s key agricultural export products towards wider market access, said the president of the Ethiopian Pulse Exporters Association, oilseeds and spices.
ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — The upcoming 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) presents huge opportunities for Ethiopia’s key agricultural export products towards wider market access, a senior official said. Ethiopian exporter of agricultural products.
Sisay Asmare, managing director of RIB Industrial and Commercial Private Limited Company (PLC), who is also chairman of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), said the CIIE serves as an effective platform for meet and forge a business partnership with potential Chinese customers.
RIB Industrial and Commercial PLC has been actively engaged in the export of agricultural products such as sesame seeds, pulses, spices and other varieties of beans and oilseeds since 2003, with China being one of its main export market destinations.
Recalling his successful participation in the CIIE twice before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asmare said the platform serves as an entry point for Ethiopian and foreign exporters to explore and enter the vast Chinese market.
The 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) is scheduled for November 5-10 in Shanghai. The event provides a platform for companies around the world to showcase their products, promote their brands and find more business partners in the world’s second-largest economy.
Sisay Asmare, chairman of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
“We have participated in the CIIE twice, in 2018 and 2019, but since then, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have not participated. For this year, we are also invited to attend,” said said Asmare.
“We are happy because it was a very big event. The Chinese also gave us a pavilion for Ethiopia,” he said, adding that the Ethiopian pavilion at the CIIE had “attracted so many visitors enthusiastic”.
According to Asmare, the secret to successful participation in the platform lies in effectively assessing market demand, assessing potential customers and establishing business partnerships.
“When I go there, for my part, I maintain my relationship with the existing customers. I visit them and learn how they will apply the import from us and how they treat it so that I take care of my products according to their demands. Secondly, new customers will also come,” he said.
Asmare said the platform helps to “maintain relationships, attract new customers and understand your customers’ needs, a face-to-face business relationship that helps me understand (plus the business)”.
He said previous editions of the CIIE had succeeded in creating a big boost in terms of raising awareness about Ethiopia’s major export products.
“They (the organizers) are very good. Our products are popular because people really like Ethiopian products and it’s a growing situation,” he said.
Asmare said the CIIE is an auspicious platform to accelerate the demand for and accessibility of Ethiopian export-oriented agricultural products to the Chinese and wider global market, ultimately enabling the East African country Is to leverage its competitive advantage in the global agricultural products market.
“We can supply sesame seeds, oilseeds like groundnuts, sunflower seeds, rapeseeds; we also have coffee; and these are becoming popular in the Chinese market. In the near future, our products will be more competitive as the demand will also come from China,” Asmare said.
Noting the existing punctual production of Ethiopian agricultural export products, which often affects trade relations with foreign importers due to supply interruptions, exporters usually wait for the next production season before exporting, Asmare said that the CIIE provides constant opportunities to regularly meet new customers. .
Asmare, in particular, stressed the need to use the CIIE as a gateway to the ever-expanding Chinese market, emphasizing the growing demand for Ethiopian agricultural export products among Chinese customers.
“The Chinese market is the biggest in the world. (It’s) a blessing for Ethiopians and Africans,” he said.
He further underlined the bilateral advantage presented by the broader Chinese market. “We can benefit by supplying them with agricultural products, industrial raw materials, and we can also buy agro-factory machinery, construction machinery and other development equipment from them.”
While Ethiopia’s overall exports to China have increased exponentially in recent years, EPOSPEA figures show that China has been a major destination for Ethiopian sesame seeds over the past decade, with around 60 70% of the country’s total sesame exports go to China.
Between 2018 and 2021, China imported nearly 282,554 metric tons of Ethiopian sesame seeds, making it the largest importer of the commodity, according to EPOSPEA figures.
Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2021 shows a traditional Ethiopian coffee pot and coffee cups at the headquarters of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
Sesame, along with coffee, is one of Ethiopia’s main export products, as the country’s export sector is largely dominated by the export of agricultural products.
During Ethiopia’s fiscal year 2021/2022, which ended on July 7, 2022, the country generated $4.12 billion in export earnings, of which the agriculture sector contributed the highest share, constituting 72% of total export earnings, according to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.
With the rise of Sino-Ethiopian trade and investment cooperation coupled with important platforms such as the CIIE, Ethiopia’s overall exports to China have witnessed steady growth in recent years, with China remaining the main trading partner of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s exports to China increased by 8% in 2021 compared to the previous year, while new foreign direct investment (FDI) from Chinese companies in Ethiopia increased by 346%, according to figures from the l Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia. ■