Director General, Shan Jiang of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs Ministry of Commerce in China met with several representatives of the Pacific Media (details on Wednesday’s issue of the Samoa Observer) at the MOFCOM head quarters in Beijing on Monday Morning.
The visit aimed at creating a better economic understanding on relations between China and the South Pacific.
Mr. Jiang shared a brief history of trade with the Pacific before giving some advice on how to strengthen the economic relations with China.
“Talking about trade in general, after a lot of work China’s foreign trade reached about USD$4trillion,” he said.
“We are now the number one in terms of trade in the world.
“In regards with the Pacific we had very little trade with you 30 years ago because we didn’t have much to trade with you and vise versa.
“In 2006 however we launched something called ‘China’s Pacific Islands Countries Economic Forum’ in Nadi Fiji.
“This was the first ever Forum of the sort conducted with the Pacific Islands; we had an in depth discussion on how we were going to develop trade between our countries.
“Since then we have had many more Chinese companies visiting the Island nations to develop better trade.”
Mr. Jiang stated that the Chinese market is open to all sorts of Pacific products, but the only problem is that China does not know what is offered to them.
“Right now China is open to more trade with the Pacific such as seafood products,” he said.
“Both China and the Pacific needs to do some homework in order to develop more trade; on your side you need to do more promotion on what products you have for trade because our consumption is very good here.
“China produces large varieties of products so if you produce something similar then you need to promote how good it is and why we should choose yours instead.
“Take Fiji water for example; China produces a lot of its own bottled water but since it (Fiji Water) was promoted well we have now provided a good market for it here in China.”
According to Mr. Jiang, one of the biggest markets that China is exploring in the Pacific is tourism, and that is where a lot of promotion should be focused at.
“In recent years we have seen more and more Chinese tourists visiting the Island nations,” he said.
“Tourism is a perfect market that can benefit the Pacific greatly, if you do not enjoy your own scenery then let us share.
“Promoting your country as a safe and beautiful place to visit will help your nation’s economy bloom.
“When they are there and see business opportunities then they can use their wisdom to import products.”