Honduras to open a commercial office in Shanghai to promote trade: Honduran Minister of Economic Development
Published: Nov 02, 2023 03:00 PM

Photo: Bai Yunyi/GT

Photo: Bai Yunyi/GT

Following the opening of its embassy in Beijing, Honduras will soon open a commercial office in Shanghai to help promote the development of bilateral trade, Fredis Cerrato, Honduran Minister of Economic Development, said on Thursday. 

He said that China has started negotiations on the possibility of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Honduras, and he hopes that the agreement can be made and take effect before the end of the current term of Honduras President Xiomara Castro.

Cerrato made the remarks at the ongoing the 16th China-LAC Business Summit held in Beijing on Thursday. 

China and Honduras signed a joint communique in Beijing in March on the establishment of diplomatic relations. In June, Honduras officially inaugurated its embassy in Beijing, the capital of China, within three months following the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Honduras. In July, China and Honduras announced the official launch of the negotiations on a bilateral FTA.

The country will also attend the coming 6th the China International Import Expo (CIIE) as the Guest Country of Honor, and there will more than 40 companies participating in this event cover industries such as coffee, cigar, red wine, and seafood.

At the summit held on Thursday, Cerrato said in his speech that Honduras is honored to be able to participate in the upcoming CIIE in Shanghai as a guest country, with plans to showcase its various products and cultural traditions at the event.

He hopes that there will be more Honduran coffee, melon available in the Chinese market next year. 

Cerrato said that currently, global economic forces are going through a stage of "rebalancing and redevelopment" and that China is an important engine of global economic development. 

"In this process, we hope that we are not just an observer, but an important player, and it is therefore essential to establish diplomatic relations with China," he noted. 

He said China's experience in poverty reduction, agricultural development, and digital economy is worth learning for Honduras and the entire Latin American region. For Honduras, it hopes to deepen and improve its all-round cooperative relationship with China in trade, financing, investment cooperation, technology transfer and other aspects.

Data from China Customs showed that the total trade volume between China and Latin America in 2022 hit a record high of $485.8 billion, with China remaining the second largest trading partner and the third largest source of investment in Latin America.

When addressing progress on a free trade agreement, Cerrato said that the two countries have begun negotiations on the possibility of signing a free trade agreement and hopes that the agreement can be concluded before the end of Honduran President Castro's current term.

The country hopes that the country's products can enter the Chinese market in a more preferential manner, while attracting more Chinese companies to invest in Honduras and promote the development of the country's digital economy and small and medium-sized enterprises, he said. 

Cerrato said in his speech that Honduras President Castro recently listed the construction of a railway connecting the country's Atlantic and Pacific coasts as a national priority project. If completed, the project may open up new alternative routes for international trade. 

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Reina in Beijing, according to Xinhua News Agency reporting.

China-Honduras relations have developed rapidly under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, showing broad prospects and great vitality since the two countries established diplomatic ties, said Wang, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.