Pakistan, the second largest exporter of rice to China, has every opportunity to grab a sizable share of the halal food market as well as meet the demand for fruits, primarily mangoes, through better competitiveness in terms of quality and price, said Ministry of Agriculture Director for Asia and African Affairs Ye Anping .
Talking to a group of journalists from South Asia, who were on a visit to China, he said Pakistan and China should enter into livestock and agriculture quarantine agreements to clear the way for export of meat and agricultural products to Beijing.
In reply to a question, he said the balance of trade in agricultural products was in favour of Pakistan as in 2015 China imported agri-products, of which rice constituted 85%, worth $430 million from Pakistan and exported fruits and vegetables valuing $320 million.
“China does not want to reduce its trade deficit because it wants to expand agricultural trade to meet its domestic demand,” he said, reiterating that tremendous scope existed for Pakistan and other South Asian nations to capitalise on the opportunity.
Ye emphasised that countries keen to enhance exports of agricultural products to China needed to understand the demand from Chinese markets and also ought to be extremely competitive.
He also invited the countries interested in gaining access to the halal market of China to attend the China-Arab States Expo that was held in Ningxia Hui autonomous region every two years in September.
He acknowledged that the cost of Chinese agricultural products was comparatively high and Beijing, because of the constant shrinking of its cultivable land, had turned into the largest importer of agricultural goods in the world since 2012.