Tanzania: Bring in Minerals, China Tells Dealers

China has invited mineral dealers from Tanzania to sell minerals and gemstones in the Far East country, with top traders expressing their gratitude to the Chinese government for opportunities it has unveiled for them.

Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke, extended the invitation during a special meeting in Arusha over the weekend that attracted top businesspersons and other stakeholders.

The ambassador, along with Tanzanian Ambassador to China, Mr Mbelwa Kairuki, were in Arusha where they met top businesspersons and other stakeholders as a means of ensuring that the natural resources, some of which are only found in Tanzania, are sold in China, a country with a 1.4bn population.

The businesspersons said the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke, had made unprecedented efforts to promote the sale by local traders, of their goods in China where there is huge demand, adding that the discussions were an eye-opener.

Speaking on behalf of the traders, Ms Susie Kennedy said they gained immensely from the meeting that was meant to be an experience-sharing platform on the mineral and gemstone sector.

She said they were sure their products would access the Chinese market and they were out for value addition before export.

While the government had introduced reform measures in the mining sector, it had in recent years proved that illicit export of minerals had been controlled since establishment of mining trade hubs in every zone of the country, with an elaborate system for sales.

"I have been greatly touched by Ambassador Wang and that is why I decided to offer her a necklace. She is doing great work in promoting Tanzania, especially on the tanzanite business that is only mined in Tanzania. She has also opened doors for its trade in China," said the trader.

Ms Kennedy, who owns two companies that are engaged in minerals and gemstone trade, thanked the ambassador who promised to prioritise issuance of travel visas to businesspersons going to China to attend mineral exhibitions to be held in February as well as in November.

"Tanzanian traders have fine products in minerals and gemstones, especially tanzanite that is not produced in any other country apart from Tanzania. We are going to be good ambassadors there and will see positive results," said Ms Kennedy.

Ambassador Ke said that China was enjoying a good economy and her people like beauty, especially made from gemstones; hence it is upon Tanzanians to tap such opportunities.

She said that on her part, she would ensure that big businesspersons got their visas on time to attend the exhibitions. Ambassador Kairuki said that last year, some Tanzanian traders went for exhibitions in China and that among five best pavilions that were toured by President Xi Jinping, one was owned by a Tanzanian.

He said the president was impressed by Tanzanian minerals and gemstones.

"I had an opportunity to tell him that the tanzanite was only mined in Tanzania. This is a great opportunity for us to market it outside the country but we must ensure that we take quality products so that the demand keeps going up and as a result the price, going by market forces rules."

Deputy Minister for Minerals, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo pledged that the government would be working along with traders on issues of customs duty, to ensure all was well.

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