Zimbabwe will next month resume citrus exports to China as the two sister republics continue to explore mutually beneficial trade, Chinese envoy to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Zhou Ding has said.
Ambassador Zhou revealed this when he spoke to journalists in Harare yesterday after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga.
The exports will go a long way in balancing Zimbabwe’s trade deficit and bring the much-needed impetus in citrus farming which has been picking up lately on the back of the Second Republic’s re-engagement drive that has seen locally-produced products finding their way on the export basket coupled with increased farm production.
Ambassador Zhou said his discussions with VP Chiwenga were wide ranging, straddling on the need for more agriculture exports from Zimbabwe to China, Chinese investment in Zimbabwe particularly in lithium beneficiation, infrastructure development and tourism among other areas.
While the parties will continue discussions on stepping up economic relations anchored on the enduring friendship between the two, citrus will have an immediate fillip with 11 citrus orchards and six citrus pack houses having, this month, gotten the all clear to resume exports to China.
“Zimbabwe will start to export citrus fruit to Chinese markets starting from next month and also we are about to import more of Zimbabwean agricultural products,” said Ambassador Zhou.
“In the past tobacco has been the main export product to China, we want to diversify that.
“We also talked about new technology cooperation, Chinese companies are investing in lithium, so hopefully in the future we can work together to build a production line of new technology, new energy, so, this is the area where there is huge potential for future cooperation.
“We had a wonderful meeting and he (VP Chiwenga) briefed me on the China, Zimbabwe relations, the history of our relations which makes me very proud,” said Ambassador Zhou.
“Before I came, I learnt a lot about Zimbabwe and after my arrival I am really impressed by the friendship Zimbabwean colleagues have shown to me. Indeed, it makes me feel that Zimbabwe and China are good friends, good brothers and good partners.
“In the past we have implemented a lot of significant and magnificent projects which really benefited Zimbabwean people, we helped Zimbabwe build a lot of wonderful projects.
“(Today) we talked about future cooperation, there are many areas where we can work together to improve the living standards of Zimbabwean people, like, infrastructure building, mining sector, tourism, agriculture,” said Ambassador Zhou.
Zimbabwe/China relations have endured dating back to the days of the liberation.
With Zimbabwe undertaking rapid economic development towards an empowered upper-middle income economy as envisioned by President Mnangagwa, China has again come in very strongly with huge investments in virtually all the sectors of the economy