Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Small Pine Nuts, Great Friendship


Small Pine Nuts, Great Friendship

On March 28th, I, accompanying H.E. President Ghani, attended the launching ceremony of a pine nut processing factory in Kabul Industrial Park. The pine nuts, pine nut processing factory and pine nut chartered cargos represent traditional agriculture, contemporary industry and modern trade respectively. The wonderful combination of these three elements represents the centenary dream of Afghanistan towards a prosperous and strong nation.
Around one year ago, during my presentation of the credentials, H.E the President expressed his hope of exporting more Afghan pine nuts, saffron, pomegranates, carpets and marble to China. To be frank, the President is the most active and excellent salesman in Afghanistan. He spared no effort in increasing the income and job opportunities of Afghan farmers. I responded that, based on the traditional friendship of our two countries and its own policies, China would be willing to import more goods from Afghanistan. I joked that, there would be a lot to be achieved,we would do it step by step. Since one character in my Chinese name means “Pine tree”, firstly, we could try our best to sign an agreement of Afghan pine nuts exporting to China this year.
Just like what we have witnessed, under the attention and guidance of our two national leaders, our two countries signed the agreement within only half a year. Since last November, when we started the chartered cargos for pine nuts, more than 15 million US dollars’ worth of pine nuts have been exported to China by 64 cargo planes within 4 months. This is the reflection of “China Efficiency”, and also another symbol of the China-Afghanistan friendship.
In 2018, the total volume of our bilateral trade increased by 27% against the gloomy global economy. The total export volume from Afghanistan to China exceeded 24 million dollars, which is 6 times that of 2017. What an amazing achievement! We should appreciate the guidance of President Ghani and President Xi Jinping, as well as the valuable efforts of government officials and commerce sector.
For more good news last year, the investment from China to Afghanistan was close to 10 million U.S. dollars, with a year-on-year growth of more than 50%. In 2018, more than 20 freight trains and 47 direct commercial flights travel between our two countries, which promoted the exchange of people, goods and information. Afghan products were quite popular at the 1st China International Import Expo held in Shanghai last year. The exhibits couldn’t be kept on the shelves before the closure of Expo. Benefiting from the Belt and Road Initiative and international connectivity, Afghanistan is no longer a landlocked country, and is expected to be the connection point of major economic corridors. Afghan featured products also take a better position in the global value chain.
Based on the prediction of eMarketer, a well-known market research firm, China is expected to become the world’s largest retail consumer market this year, with a total market value of 5.6 trillion US dollars. In the next five years, China will import 8 trillion US dollars of goods and attract 600 billion US dollars of foreign investment, with the total outward investment reaches 750 billion US dollars. China’s GDP growth rate is expected to be around 6-6.5% this year, and China is still one of the strongest and most stable economies in the world. In recent months, the Chinese economy has been operating steadily. The trend of steady operation, positive long-term tendency hasn’t been changed. Two days ago, China and Italy signed the MoU on Joint Building the Belt and Road Initiative, and reached series of contracts worth of 2.5 billion Euros. It fully reflects the complementary potentials of China’s markets and industries with the abroad, and the jointly construction of the Belt and Road Initiatives. As China further deepens its reform and opening up, and with the advancement of China and Afghanistan joint build the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the arrival of peace in Afghanistan, the economic and trade cooperation between our two countries will continue to advance to a new level.
Although the pine nuts are very small and the trade volume of pine nuts is not very big, it means a lot to the livelihood of thousands of Afghan people, and it is a reflection of open global economy and free trade, as well as the outcome of good neighborliness and cooperation of mutual benefit. When the Chinese people taste the sweet pine nuts, when Afghan practitioner enjoys more earnings, our two peoples remember not only the business, but also the brotherhood that established and deepened out of the ancient and new Silk Road. In the future, China will import more Afghan featured products, help Afghanistan develop its preliminary product processing industry, train more Afghan professionals, and will also contribute more to the peace reconciliation and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Liu Jinsong is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Afghanistan

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