PT&I works with Chinese TV to promote islands
PT&I is collaborating with China Central Television (CCTV) on a documentary series that will introduce the Pacific region to some 900 million viewers in China.<!--more--> It is hoped that increased exposure will help reduce the many challenges that Pacific Island businesses face in their efforts to boost exports to the burgeoning market.
A recent visit to Beijing by the European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project to explore opportunities for Pacific Island exporters in the China has helped highlight these challenges.
The FACT team worked closely with PT&I’s office in Beijing. PT&I Trade Commissioner in Beijing Sam Savou said, “There is a need to develop a coherent and persuasive argument, giving good reasons for Chinese importers and distributors to buy Pacific Island products (as they will usually be more expensive). Pacific exporters should aim for niche and top-end markets, such as for organically certified foods.”
“On the whole, there is a need to brand the Pacific region first and then the products,” Mr Savou adds.
Pacific exporters should also market for scale and select the right importer/distributor – one who is willing to undertake joint marketing campaigns. The branding of products for niche markets is also essential to enable Pacific exporters to command a higher price for their products.
There is also a need for labelling in Mandarin, as required by Chinese labelling regulations, which applies particularly to retail packs.
Tariffs, too, remain a challenge. Goods from several island nations to China are subject to 15-25 per cent duty, compared to zero duty that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) enjoys. Some countries, such as Samoa and Vanuatu, however, have lower tariffs (10-15 per cent) besides zero rating on some 200 items.
Countries must complete bilateral quarantine protocols to facilitate the export of agriculture products and produce where applicable, says Mr Savou.
Fiji is currently developing a list of specific products for possible preferential arrangements with China.
(Adapted from a media release from SPC, Suva)