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LatAm countries have potential to be strategic partners for China in agrifood sector
Release time£º2015-10-23 15:52 Source£º

MEXICO CITY, Oct. 22(Xinhua) -- Latin American and Caribbean countries have the potential to becomestrategic partners for China in the agrifood market, said The EconomicCommission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its latest report.

They have not onlyvast natural and water resources, but also international companies that arecompetitive in different segments of the agro-industrial chain, according tothe report.

This places theregion in good stead to become a major supplier of nutritious, safe andhigh-quality foods, and diversifies from reliance on exports of agriculturalcommodities, ECLAC said.

"Opportunitiesabound, not only to increase and diversify exports to China, but also fortrans-Latin companies to invest there, tapping their food industry expertise tosupply local markets and use China as an export platform for the rest ofAsia," read the ECLAC report.

The report regardedagriculture and agro-industry as a promising sector, "as China needs tofeed 22 percent of the world's population with only 7 percent of its farmlandand 6 percent of its water resources."

China became a netfood importer in 2004, since when its agriculture trade deficit has widened.According to the report, if the trend continues, China's food imports will morethan double by 2020 along with the steady expansion of the middle classes andreforms geared towards boosting consumption.

The report furtherindicated that Latin American agricultural and food exports to China have grownrapidly, but the very high concentration of products and countries of origindiminishes the benefits for the region as a whole.

China's share ofLatin America's agricultural and food exports rose from 1.2 percent in 1990 to12.9 percent in 2014. At the same time, the region's share in Chineseimports of agricultural products shot up from 16 percent in 2000 to 27 percentin 2014.

However,agricultural exports to China are even more concentrated than total exports, asa single product (soybeans) accounted for 78 percent of the total export valuein 2014. All processed products, except soybean oil, formed a tiny proportionof the basket of exports to China, the report added.