In a significant step towards deepening economic collaboration, Nicaragua and China officially initiated trading under a new free trade agreement on Monday. This landmark agreement grants the Central American nation the opportunity to export approximately 71% of its products to the largest Asian market without facing tariffs.
State media reports reveal that the exported goods encompass a diverse range, including meat and seafood such as fish, shrimp, lobsters, and sea cucumber. Additionally, products like sugar, peanuts, rum, leather, charcoal, wood, and automobile parts are part of the export portfolio. Notably, certain Nicaraguan industries crucial to its economy, such as meat and its by-products, coffee, rice, and sugar, are excluded from the agreement to mitigate potential challenges.
President Daniel Ortega, who has led Nicaragua for the past 17 years, expressed enthusiasm about the agreement, referring to it as "the best Christmas present" during his speech on December 22. He emphasized cooperation, stating, "Our brothers are here to shake hands, not to attack us," and called on others to learn from the collaboration for the greater good and peace.
Nicaragua's shift towards China has been evident since the end of diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2021. The trade agreement, signed virtually on October 31, marks a strategic move to strengthen economic ties between the two nations.
While specific details of the agreement remain limited, Laureano Ortega, an adviser to President Ortega overseeing relations with China and Russia, expressed optimism about its potential benefits. He stated that the trade agreement is expected to bring economic and social advantages to Nicaraguan families, attract new investments, create jobs, and facilitate the transfer of technology from China to Nicaragua.
As Nicaragua diversifies its international partnerships, this trade agreement signifies a positive stride towards fostering economic growth and cooperation between Nicaragua and China. The International Trade Council anticipates that this collaboration will contribute to the development of both nations, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship in the realm of international trade.