September 26, 2023

Uruguay’s Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Fernando Mattos at the Embassy of Uruguay in Beijing on May 25 Photo: Liu Yang/GT

Fernando Mattos, the minister of livestock, agriculture, and fisheries of Uruguay, just returned from a 19-day visit to China that produced agreements between the two agricultural ministries and other organizations.

According to Mattos, Uruguay has benefited much from China’s swift economic recovery, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was launched by China, has shortened the distance between the two distant friends and partners.

At a news conference on Thursday, the Uruguayan Embassy in Beijing stated that Tang Renjian, the Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, had invited them to visit. A busy schedule of almost 100 meetings, including talks with the General Administration of Customs of China (GAC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China (MOA), was accomplished by Mattos during his 19-day tour to China.

Additionally, Mattos traveled to Hong Kong, Macao, Guangdong, Henan, Shanghai, Jilin, Shandong, and Beijing. He also had meetings with some of the highest-ranking representatives of foreign organizations in China, including the president of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the official of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization in China.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Uruguayan Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries and the MOA on Cooperation in Fisheries and Aquaculture was signed by Mattos, according to the Uruguayan Embassy.

A number of significant agreements for collaboration between institutions in China and Uruguay were also signed in front of the minister. Both the Uruguayan Horse Breeders Association and the China Horse Industry Association signed cooperation agreements during these times, as did the National Agricultural Research Institute of Uruguay and the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration of China.

After a five-day trip to China beginning on April 16, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo Bonasso said that Uruguay attaches great importance to relations with China and expects to continue collaborating closely with China in the economic and other fields. This was followed by Mattos’ visit.

Data from GAC shows that bilateral trade increased by 14.9% annually to $7.44 billion in 2022. Last year, China’s imports from Uruguay increased by 23% to $4.46 billion.

During the press conference, Mattos said, “We ended a visit of such details with an extensive agenda due to the fact that it has been four years since we have been able to travel to China and we had some bilateral pending issues. This trip is necessary to generate more close diplomatic, commercial, and personal relationships, bring more opportunities to consolidate the fact that Uruguay is a great strategic supplier of food and fiber for China.

Mattos said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Thursday that Uruguay had “big opportunities” as a result of China’s quick economic recovery. “We have seen that everyone is upbeat about the recovery since demand and sales are rising. More purchases, moves, and trade… We depend on this to enhance our economic production, therefore this is incredibly beneficial for us. I’ll tell my nation about it when I go back.

The first nation in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR in Spanish) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China on BRI collaboration is Uruguay. According to Mattos, the BRI has shortened the gap between the two distant friends and partners, increasing connectivity with more shipping lines and aircraft that can transport fresh agricultural products from Uruguay to China’s customers.

According to Mattos’ account to the Global Times, the president of the NDB and him discussed the fluctuation of currencies during his visit. According to him, the yuan may become a standard currency in the future as China’s economic operations on the international financial market increase.

In the course of their travels to various Chinese towns, Mattos and his delegation, he said, have seen vast future potential of complementarity and chances to develop the commercial and technological collaboration in order to enhance their respective production processes while maintaining a common sense of sustainability.

They have also witnessed the nation’s quick contemporary economic growth. “Western countries lack knowledge of China’s reality, and we will talk more about the true living conditions we have seen as well as the progress that the world’s huge market has made including removing people from extreme poverty in such a short time, which is really admirable,” Mattos said during the press conference.

“Looking ahead, regarding the results we two countries can obtain from the trade consolidation, we hope more confidence for more investment, sales of services, and tourism, with higher level of relationship that goes beyond commercial exchange,” he continued.

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