By Rafia Haider

BEIJING, June 25 (APP): Pakistan, the second largest exporter of rice to China, holds every opportunity to gain a sizable share in the market for halal food as well as fruits, primarily mangoes, through enhanced competitiveness in terms of quality and price, said Ye Anping, Director for Asia and African Affairs, Department of International, Ministry of Agriculuture, Peoples Republic of China.

Talking to a group of journalists from South Asia, currently visiting China, under a programme organized by China. Public Diplomacy Association, he said Pakistan and China need to enter into Livestock-Agriculture Quarantine.

Agreements paving way for exports of meat and many of the other agricultural products from Pakistan to China.

In reply to a question, he said trade balance of agricultural products between the two countries is presently tilted towards Pakistan as only in the year 2015 China imported agri-products, rice constituting 85%, worth US $ 430 million from Pakistan and exported fruits alongwith vegetables worth US $ 320 million to it.

“China does not want to reduce its trade deficit because it wants to expand agricultural trade to meet its domestic demand,” he said reiterating that tremendous scope exists for Pakistan and other South Asian countries to avail of the opportunity.

Mr. Ye Anping emphasized that countries keen to enhance their agricultural products’ exports to China need to understand the Chinese markets’ demand and also ought to be extremely competitive.

The senior official also invited countries interested to gain access to halal market of China to attend China-Arab States Expo held in Ningxia Hui autonomous region of China in every two years during the month of  September.

He acknowledged that cost of Chinese agricultural products are comparatively high and that his country owing to constant shrink in its cultivable land has turned to be the largest importer of agricultural
goods in the world, since 2012.

“The import volume of agri products to China was 122.6 billion US $ against export volume of 72 billion in 2015,” he said mentioning that over the years the trade gap was registered widening with considerably high margin.

To a query, he said China each year mainly exports agricultural products that are in demand and this besides cotton also included soya bean.

Last year only China imported 87 million tonnes of it worth 40 billion US dollars and the soyabean imported by China in 2015, he said constituted 56% to 58% of the entire world’s import of soyabean.

South Asian countries, he said can provide these products to China but with equal attention towards competitiveness in terms of quality as well as price.

“No country wants to imports products from fixed importers as it is hard to negotiate,” he commented.

Director for Asian and African Affairs, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, China, said trade and science & technology must be given equal attention and that Chinese government was willing to cooperate with South Asian countries in all spheres of agricultural sector.

“We want to expand investment in the agricultural sector of the South Asian region as it is hard to do trade without investment in the present day world,” he said.

Mr. Ye Anping elaborating his stance regretted that cooperation between China and South Asia in the spheres of foreign agricultural investment, scientific research and agri trade lags far behind and this was despite the fact that it was largely favorable for the region.

He said it was important to import agricultural development as it can catapult investment in the agriculture sector leading towards improved technology, quality training of manpower and poverty alleviation.