Import expo, Belt and Road initiative help Egyptians find huge markets in China
Have you ever had a taste of Egyptian oranges, the delicacy favored by the Pharaoh? Despite the long distance between Egypt and China, these oranges are now within easy reach as the countries open up to each other and engage in cooperation.
Posters on Chinese shopping websites advertise that Egyptian oranges bathe in African sunshine and accumulate abundant nutrition during the sunny days and chilly nights, as the Nile nourishes the fruits.
Just before the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) opened in Shanghai, this Global Times reporter visited Egyptian fruit dealers and packers, and acquired a clear understanding of how the fruits were carefully selected and transported under the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) to end up on Chinese families’ dining tables.
Talking about the significance of the CIIE, Rashad Abdel, economics professor at Cairo University, told the Global Times that it’s worth recognizing that China is voluntarily opening its market further and sharing the opportunity of development with the outside world.
The CIIE will provide a huge market, development and employment opportunities to developing countries, he said.
Only a few years ago, Ashraf Eladwy, chief of Nile Establishment for International Trade, could not imagine selling the oranges to China. Now the Chi- nese market has become increasingly important for his company. Eladwy learned about the huge potential of the Chinese market in 2015 when he was attending an international fruit and vegetable exposition in Hong Kong.
He said he initially thought it would be difficult to enter the Chinese market, but things turned out to be very smooth. The openness of the Chinese market was beyond his expectations, as long as the products’ quality meet with the requirements, he told the Global Times.
When he was researching the Chinese market, he also saw a lot of fruits imported from other countries, including Philippine bananas, Vietnamese pitaya, New Zealand kiwi and Chilean cherries.
Three years ago, although Eladwy sensed the huge potential of the Chinese market, he and other Egyptian traders hesitated and dared not risk an investment due to their primitive understanding of the Chinese market and lack of trust.
Egyptian oranges have a thin peel, abundant juice, and unique taste. But due to the desert environment in which they grow, the peels look rough and the oranges vary in size, which may not be appealing in the Chinese market.
Due to the Chinese customs’ strict criteria on fruit, initially only half of Eladwy’s fruit could enter the country. He then opened special farms with adapted growing
File photo: Great Pyramid of Giza at Cairo, Egypt Top: Workers at the packing factory of the Nile International Trading Company are sorting out oranges to be exported to China.