Im­port expo, Belt and Road ini­tia­tive help Egyp­tians find huge mar­kets in China

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Jing Yue in Egypt

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.

Su­perfine or­anges

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

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Photo: VCG Photo: Cour­tesy of Nile Es­tab­lish­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade

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.

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