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One year on, China, Honduras bringing off new feats in exchanges, cooperation

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-03-28

by Xinhua writer Ma Qian

BEIJING -- Honduras, with a mild climate and ample rainfall, is perfect for growing coffee, hence a leading central-American coffee producer and the sixth-largest coffee producer worldwide.

China would promote the early introduction of Honduran specialty products to the Chinese market, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Honduran counterpart, Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento, in June last year when Castro was on a state visit to China.

Already, Honduran coffee has been gaining popularity among Chinese coffee-lovers.

As Tuesday marks the 1st anniversary of bilateral ties, Xi, in a congratulatory message, pledged that he is ready to work with Castro to consolidate mutual support, and expand all-round cooperation.


These days, Santos Alberto Gaitan and his family have been bending over backwards to explore unique coffee drinks featuring the most authentic Honduran flavour, which they will present as a signature product at this year's China International Imports Expo (CIIE), the world's largest trade fair.

At present, there are approximately 25,000 Honduran families that live by coffee planting. Over the past nearly 80 years, the Gaitans, among others, have grown their family business from a small workshop to one of the biggest coffee purchasing and production companies in El Paraiso Department.

During the sixth CIIE in November last year, Honduran exhibitors signed cooperation agreements for thousands of tons of coffee with Chinese importers.

Making its maiden presence at the trade fair, Honduran companies also brought other major agricultural products like tobacco and chocolate, and the country was one of the five guest countries of honor at the event.

For Gaitan and other Honduran businessmen, China stands as a top export destination with a booming market and growing demand. "The Chinese market is huge and very attractive. It offers numerous opportunities for business and cooperation," he said.

Also during his meeting with Castro last year, Xi said China is willing to start the negotiation process for a free trade agreement at an early date. So far, negotiations on the China-Honduras Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have made substantial progress since they began last July. Last week, China and Honduras held the fourth round of the FTA negotiations in Beijing, conducting comprehensive and in-depth consultations on fields such as trade in goods and services, and investment. A month earlier, the two countries signed an early harvest arrangement for the bilateral FTA.

Noting the rounds of FTA negotiations "have been carried out satisfactorily," Honduras' Minister of Economic Development Fredis Cerrato said the FTA will promote production and exports of premium Honduran agricultural and marine goods, generate jobs and foreign exchange, and attract Chinese investment.

"With China's growth and progress, we have no doubt that it is a strategic and fundamental partner for the development of our country ... We need to continue to build an increasingly strong long-term relationship, so that we bet on a win-win situation and that both countries can bring benefits to their people," Cerrato said.

Given the ongoing FTA negotiations, Gaitan regarded it imperative for entrepreneurs like him to "learn more about Chinese culture and consumers, and seize the infinite opportunities of economic and trade cooperation between our two countries."


The closer bond between the two peoples since the establishment of China-Honduras diplomatic relations has brought an influx of Honduran visitors to China.

Honduran artist Hermes Estrada has grabbed a chance to realize his "biggest dream" -- to go to China and learn Chinese music, dance and art.

As a Chinese culture enthusiast, Estrada has been invited to participate in the Shanghai Tourism Festival scheduled for September. During the city's annual tourism extravaganza, Estrada and his troupe are expected to wow local residents and global travelers with their exquisite performance of Latin music and dance.

The 42-year-old artist had paid a visit to China in 2012. In his eyes, Honduras and China, one of the world's most picturesque countries, are "friends and brothers."

He believes that there are striking resemblances between the Chinese civilization and the Mayan civilization of Honduras, not least in emphasizing respect for nature and advocating harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. "I hope I can have more opportunities to visit China," he added.

During talks with the Honduran leader, Xi called on the two sides to promote people-to-people exchanges and consolidate the popular support for the friendship of the two countries.

Over the past year, from launching the first course on traditional Chinese painting in Honduras to carrying out a joint archaeological project at the Maya Site of Copan, China and Honduras have achieved remarkable results in cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, bringing the two ancient civilizations even closer.

Many of the business leaders and journalists, who were in the China-visiting delegation led by Castro, said the trip has transformed their perception of China.


For veteran journalists like Juan Ortiz, China-related topics and stories worth reporting are simply "too many to write."

After reporting in China for two months, Ortiz, head of the Information Department of Honduran weekly the People Power, marveled at the dynamics and achievements of the Chinese modernization drive, which he believes has brought fresh development opportunities to Latin America.

He pointed out an urgent need to represent a real China and its development trajectory in news reporting. "The reality of China is completely different from those distorted reports by the West," Ortiz said. "If you want to understand China, you must go to China and see so many wonderful places!"

Ortiz's perceptions were echoed by multiple media delegates, who have visited China since the establishment of China-Honduras ties and whose footprints spanned from eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang to southwestern Chongqing Municipality.

Kimberly Espinoza, director of Honduras' national public television broadcaster Channel 8, was deeply impressed by China's people-centered development philosophy. "President Xi always harbors sincere feelings for the people and values their well-being."

From his perspective, establishing bilateral relations is a historic choice for Honduras, and China will bring great impetus and experience to benefit Honduras' development. "The world will see a brand-new Honduras," he added. 

Xinhua reporters Meng Yifei, Li Zijian, Zhang Yuan, Kang Wenjun, Wu Hao and Li Mengxin in Mexico City also contributed to the report.