China, Sierra Leone trade topped $500m in 2019

Head of the Political Section of the Chinese Embassy Mr Hu has told Awoko that in 2019 Customs Statistics from China showed that trade between China and Sierra Leone in 2019 was $510 million. Of this figure he explained China imported goods worth $200 million and exported $310 million to Sierra Leone thereby creating a balance of trade deficit of $110m for Sierra Leone. “China and Sierra Leone has over the years been doing very good business and the figures between the two countries keep on growing, as majority of the business people in Sierra Leone buy goods from China.” He said the exportation to China from Sierra Leone was largely on timber rather than the usual minerals that have dominated the trade over the years. Mr Hu said, “Most of the factories and businesses in China even now have not yet started working, especially in the South of China in provinces like Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shanghai. These were provinces that were hardest hit by the virus and it is now that they have started working gradually. Because of this the trade between China and many countries in the world especially Sierra Leone has virtually grounded.” Head of the Political Section of the Chinese Embassy said the ports in Zhejiang, Shanghai and Tianjin were all empty because of lack of production and the virus. He said it is now they are putting modalities in place to start operations again. “According to the Ministry of Commerce, trade has started gradually. Sierra Leoneans have started putting their orders for goods. I am sure the market in the country would have been affected and there will be shortage of some goods, but now that business is gradually picking up I am sure that by the end of April many containers will be coming again from China” Hu maintained. China has contained the virus he said and thousands of people have been cured and have started returning to work again. Mr Hu said he is optimistic that usual business will start across the country by end of March. Currently because of the corona virus, most Sierra Leoneans travelling to China have suspended their travelling. The visa section of the embassy is idle because Sierra Leonean traders are not going for visa now, and this has affected businesses, because if the people are not travelling for business then it means it is affecting trade between the two countries.

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