On November 9, President Nayib Bukele and the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in El Salvador, Ou Jianhong, announced that both nations are in the process of establishing a free trade agreement (FTA).
As a result of said announcement, the Minister of Economy, María Luisa Hayem, indicated that the business sector has joined the government’s enthusiasm for this alliance that will increase the country’s commercial market, doubling the number of potential consumers of Salvadoran products.
«We have seen a positive reaction from the business sector, which sees being able to sign an FTA of this nature as a great opportunity in which we would be doubling the number of potential consumers that we already have with preferences,» said the headline.
He explained that, currently, the country has trade agreements with 12 countries, which give it access to a market of 1,200 million potential consumers, while, when the negotiations with China are finalized, the country could offer its products to between 1.4 billion and 1.5 billion more consumers.
«It is a great opportunity for the country. Our market is small; the way to grow and generate employment opportunities is through exports and more investment, and that is what we are seeing that this trade agreement with China will bring. Hayem said.
Regarding the main items to open doors in the Asian giant, the minister explained that within the negotiation it will seek to strengthen the facilities for products that are already competitive but also for other items that may weigh in the future.
«We are seeing that products such as coffee and sugar are immediate winners, but there is also a high demand for products such as shrimp and pork, among others,» said the official.
In turn, she explained that China already imports Salvadoran products such as plastic, paper, fibers, synthetics, and textile materials, so the analysis of the negotiation revolves around finding opportunities, recognizing the asymmetries of both markets.
Following the announcement of the start of formal negotiations to formalize a free trade agreement with China, various business unions spoke about the opportunities that closer trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy will bring to the country.
«The relationship with the business sector remains constant; we are listening to them; they are sending their perspectives, and that, of course, will be an input in this process,» said Hayem.