China's first ever import expo is "fundamental" to boosting trade, Costa Rica's Foreign Trade Minister Dyala Jimenez Figueres has said.
It is an opportunity for exporters of Cost Rica to reach further into the Chinese market, said the top trade official in an interview with Xinhua earlier this month, referring to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai.
"This fair for importers in China is going to be fundamental," said Jimenez.
The foreign trade official voiced confidence in exporting more Costa Rican goods to China.
"I think that (is) presenting ourselves in the showcase and explaining to Chinese importers what Costa Rica is ... I think that is going to catapult our exports to China," she said.
"So, we are making every effort to continue to position ourselves in the Chinese market," Jimenez added.
Costa Rica is one of the Latin American countries that have a free trade agreement with China. Eight years after signing the trade deal, Costa Rica is well positioned to expand its trade ties with the Asian giant.
"I value our trade ties as a relationship that is just beginning," said Jimenez. "There is literally a sea of opportunities through this treaty."
Both countries still need to tackle some obstacles in trade, she said, adding "There are still logistical issues, language issues, and time zone issues that we are gradually going to overcome."
Costa Rica should continue to pursue the approval of trade protocols to expand exchanges, including on frozen fruits, said the minister, adding it should also make more efforts to promote and protect Chinese investment.
At the Shanghai CIIE, Costa Rica enjoys a country pavilion featuring leading exporters of frozen fruits, coffee and beef, products already in trade with China.
Given the size of China's consumer market, "Chinese importers like to have more products, and I think that is the challenge for Costa Rica," said Jimenez.
"The difference in size or in capacity is evident," she said, adding "our challenge is to help our exporters to increase scale and productivity."
Jimenez will travel to China as a member of the trade delegation to the CIIE, which will be headed by Vice President and Foreign Minister Epsy Campbell Barr.