Argentina is preparing to make the most of the great opportunity offered by the first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), said a top Argentine trade official.
Alejandro Wagner, director of international trade at Argentina's investment and export promotion agency AAICI, described the upcoming expo to be held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10 as a "milestone" which will serve to "showcase" his country's exportable goods and cultural attractions.
"This fair is very important, not only because of its scale but also because it is primarily promoted by the Chinese government," said Wagner, adding that some 50 Argentine companies are set to attend this state-backed expo.
According to the official, an expo of this kind will bridge any "physical or cultural distance" that may exist between the two countries.
The expo will feature a core of national pavilions, including a 132-square-meter Argentina Pavilion which is currently being designed by the government.
"The pavilion aims to gather all the players, the state institutions and agencies that are going to represent the country at the fair, as well as ministers that are going to participate and hold bilateral meetings," said Wagner.
He noted that Argentina's pavilion without any doubt will offer visitors a wide variety of experiences, "from cultural activities, like the tango, to a bar where they can taste test Argentine wines."
Argentina's provinces, such as Santa Fe, Cordoba and Mendoza, will have representatives on hand "to show what's called the exportable offer," he mentioned.
"Twice a day, there's going to be a tango show, to make this cultural feature that is so rooted in Argentina and so well-known and appreciated among the Chinese, serve as an important platform for doing business," Wagner stressed.
The agricultural goods from this South American country will comprise vast exports on offer, from wineries to producers of honey, olive oil, beef, rice and garbanzos, he said.
Wagner hopes that the four star Argentine products in China, namely meat, poultry, fish and wine, can lead the Chinese people to fall in love with more products from Argentina.
"Argentina has the potential to fulfill China's expectation," the official said.
The country wants to introduce dairy products such as different types of cheese to the Chinese market, which in the official's words are "highly valued by the Chinese people and produced with high quality by Argentina."
The two countries are currently in talks over honey, whose access to China's market "is imminent," Wagner said, adding that producers are willing to make some improvements in packaging so as to better meet the local market.
The expo is taking place under the background of thriving bilateral ties between China and Argentina. "Our relationship is excellent and ... we want to develop that by presenting more of our producers in this expo, a gateway for Argentine companies to further enter the Chinese market," he said.
Argentina's productive sector has "very high hopes" of seeing the expansion of exchanges between the two countries "because nowadays in China, the consumption of high quality foods is beyond question a reality," said Wagner.
He expressed his confidence in this expo as it is going to be a showcase not only for Argentina but also for the world since hundreds of countries are going to attend.
"The timing couldn't be better," he added, referring to the current climate of uncertainty in global trade, due to the increasing protectionist tendency of the United States, the world's largest economy.