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Caribbean Agri-exports to China could grow by almost 10 per cent

Principal Economic Advisor at the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector, Mauricio Mesquita Moreira Principal Economic Advisor at the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector, Mauricio Mesquita Moreira
WASHINGTON, Sept 28, CMC – A new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has found that agricultural exports from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to China could increase by almost 10 per cent if the Asian country reduces its tariffs by more than 50 per cent.

The study also found that manufacturing goods could jump by 37 per cent, if Beijing’s import tariffs were reduced to the levels of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose average is 3.6 per cent.

agriculture-0ecsThe study finds that China’s median tariff is about twice that of the OECD for agricultural goods and more than three times for manufacturing goods.

After expanding at an annual average rate of 31.2 per cent between 2000 and 2011, the study finds that the growth of China-LAC trade decelerated sharply and turned negative in 2014, on the back of marked and intertwined slowdowns in the growth of China and LAC.

Despite this recent loss of dynamism, the study notes that China remains as LAC’s second-largest trade partner—accounting for 13.7 per cent of the region’s trade in 2015.

Additionally, the study found the most likely medium- to long-term scenario for its demand for LAC commodities is one of a robust growth, though not as epic as in the last decade.

The study titled “Uncovering the Barriers of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Trade”  is produced by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through its Integration and Trade Sector (INT).

Principal Economic Advisor at the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector, Mauricio Mesquita Moreira and author of the report, said regional governments and the private sector will have to invest in trade intelligence to remove barriers and maximize the potential gains from trade with China.

“To carry out this agenda effectively, negotiations must be, as much as possible, isolated from the political and ideological considerations that have characterized the relationship in the past”, Mesquita Moreira said.

Another important finding is that the Chinese tariff structure tends to discriminate against the imports of consumer goods, which represents a challenge for LAC exporters looking to sell their products directly to Chinese consumers.

  • Countries: Caribbean

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