By ‘Mathabana Kotelo
Maseru — Long standing warm bi-lateral relations between Lesotho and China put Lesotho in good standing to attract investment from Chinese investors said the Chinese ambassador to Lesotho, HU Dingxian.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times on Monday he spoke among others, about diplomatic relations between the two countries following the 20th anniversary of the establishment of such relations on January 12th.
Dingxian expressed the Chinese Embassy’s willingness to help Lesotho attract much needed foreign investment from Chinese investors for social and economic investment.
“I have full confidence in the future bi-lateral relations between Lesotho and China. There is great potential for co-operation between the two countries,” Dingxian said.
“The nature of our economies, which are complimentary, presents a good opportunity for Basotho to seize the
opportunity to attract foreign investment,” he added.
Dingxian said China was currently in the process of implementing its 12th five-year plan to readjust the economy’s structure and patterns of economic development using technology.
“There is great potential for China-based businessmen to invest in Lesotho, and the Chinese Embassy is prepared to work with the Lesotho government to attract these businessmen to Lesotho,” Dingxian said.
According to Dingxian, the warm relations between China and Lesotho can be attributed to mutual respect, good co-operation on international affairs and shared views on international issues on the United Nations and other international fora.
Despite these good relations, people-to-people relations between Basotho and Chinese people living in Lesotho appear to be at times somewhat shaky mostly due to the widespread belief that consumable goods offered for sale by the Chinese business community are usually past their sell-by date and therefore not suitable for consumption.
Speaking on this issue, Dingxian acknowledged that there had been instances where some Chinese retailers had sold expired goods in supermarkets but stressed that the trend was often exaggerated.
“Often a few cases cast doubt on everyone, I urge consumers to report the guilty parties to the relevant authorities rather than putting the blame on all Chinese retailers,” he said.
He added that the problem could be solved through negotiations as well as collective efforts at improving management, both at retail level and government level.
“I am aware that since last year, a task team has been launched by the government to carry out inspection of goods at different supermarkets in an effort to try remedy the situation,” said Dingxian.
He urged the government to use the necessary measures to eradicate this problem and to prosecute those found guilty of this act regardless of whether they are Chinese, Indian or Pakistani nationals.
Dingxian further said that the Chinese embassy had also taken it upon itself to educate Chinese retailers on their responsibilities as per the Consumer Rights Policy and encourage them to adhere to it while maintaining high standards of morality and respect for the local culture as is the Chinese tradition.
He refuted the claim that Chinese-owned retail stores are often of inferior quality, saying that Chinese-produced goods were widely accepted and sold in most western countries in the US and EU. “The nature and level of the market determines the quality of commodities sold in that market. Cheaper priced goods are best received here and those are the type of goods sold here, not fake goods,” Dingxian said.