Windhoek — The Embassy of the People's Republic of China will request a Chinese team of technical experts to visit Namibia with the sole intent to renegotiate the agreement on the export of Namibian beef to China.
At his debut media briefing since being accredited as Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming yesterday said Namibian beef exports to his country were suspended in 2016, as stipulated in the beef export agreement, following the outbreak of lumpy skin disease.
Zhang intimated that Namibian beef exports to China have been suspended for a period of one year and the agreement makes provision for such suspension to be reviewed after one year.
He said it was very unfortunate the lumpy disease outbreak occurred in July last year, two months after the historic agreement that would have made Namibia the first African country to export beef to China.
"According to the agreement signed between the two governments, once any disease - either skin disease or foot-and-mouth -
breaks out, beef exports must be terminated for at least one year. Once the twelve months are complete the two sides have to renegotiate the contents as well as the text of the agreement. Unfortunately, Namibian beef has not been served to Chinese consumers," the Chinese ambassador explained at the media briefing.
Contrary to a recent newspaper report that insinuated China was at fault on the beef agreement, Ambassador Zhang said: "It's not our fault what we are doing now - our embassy has already sent a report back to Beijing to advise our concerned ministry to immediately send experts to Namibia to renegotiate this agreement in order to facilitate the export of beef to the Chinese market."
Zhang further invited Namibian meat exporters to capitalise on the vast Chinese market, saying Namibian exporters are welcome to send mutton, crayfish, mussels and fish to China, though he also expressed concern local exporters would not fulfil China's demands.
At the same event Zhang gave credit to the founding father Sam Nujoma for having encouraged local meat exhibitors to showcase Namibian beef in Shanghai, China for the first time in May 2009.
Meanwhile, Zhang also expressed his contentment with one of China's largest investments on the African continent at Husab Uranium Mine, where China invested over N$50 billion (US$4.8 billion) in the project in the Namib Desert.
"It took only four years to finish the construction of a new modern industrial city in the wild Namib Desert. I'm pleased to learn that 95 percent of its employees are local and the mine has created 1,406 permanent jobs and contributed N$560 million to the tax revenue of this country. The mine produced the first barrel of uranium at the end of last year and will promote Namibian GDP by about 5 percent after full operation, increase the export volume by 20 percent and make Namibia the second largest producer of uranium in the world," stated the ambassador at the briefing attended by Li Nan the deputy chief of mission, Liu Hua-Bo the economic and commercial counsellor, and other officials.