In 2020, the trade deficit was recorded at over US$149 million, London's BusinessMonitor has learnt. Botswana's export to China has decreased over the years since 2016.
Exports to China were recorded at about $44 million then, while in 2020 exports had dropped to about $2 million. Speaking during the China-Botswana investment promotion webinar, Botswana Investment and Trade Industry (BITC) executive director Business Intelligence, Botho Bayendi said while 2020 was characterised by disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic generally, export to China was still on the decline.
'Major exports include vegetable saps and extracts, articles of apparel and clothing, and industrial goods,' she said.
However, Ms Bayendi said imports from China have been generally increasing over the last five years. In 2020 imports stood at over $151 million, an increase from about $121 million recorded in 2019. Major imports are industrial goods including machinery, medical instruments and apparatus, furniture, and clothing and apparel.
She said according to the trade decision support model, Botswana has P13.7 billion pula (US$1.58 billion).
'Most opportunities are in meat and meat products, which are large and growing. There is also an opportunity to export live cattle,' said Mr Bayendi.
'The two opportunities are consistent with Botswana's comparative advantage in cattle production and export,' she said.
Two other opportunities exist in the entire cattle production value chain including vaccines, and hides and skins. She said another notable export potential exists in foodstuffs, plastic pipes and tubes, fabric, iron and steel products.