Chinese minister says new measures based on Sino-African cooperation fruits

20:59, January 18, 2010      

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Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming has outlined the general principles on the implement of "eight new measures" announced at the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 8-9 to enhance China-Africa cooperation.

Chen made the announcement in an exclusive interview with Xinhua here at the last stop of his just-ended trip on Jan. 11-17 to three African countries that included Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The Chinese commerce minister said in order to implement the FOCAC new measures, China would summarize the valuable and practical experience and make new layouts in advance as the eight measures announced at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2006 to enhance China-African have been implemented comprehensively and achieved remarkable fruits.

"China would like to listen to the suggestions from African countries to support projects which will help to improve African people's life, medical welfare, environment protection and infrastructure in accordance to the local needs. China and African countries will face the global challenge such as the climate change together, which will widely benefit African countries," Chen noted.

He added that China will pay much attention to the efficiency, high-quality and high standard of the implementation, promising to initiate the work on tax exemption and debt relief immediately.

"China has started to sign and exchange documents on tariff exemption to export products from some most undeveloped African countries to China in order to ensure that the formal implement of the tariff exemption measures will start from mid 2010, which will benefit concerned African countries," the Chinese commerce minister said.

On the effects of the global financial crisis on the China- Africa economic and trade cooperation, Chen admitted that there is a certain effect as the China-Africa trade volume reached more than 91 billion US dollars in 2009, with a 15.1 percent year-on- year decrease due to the decreasing price of large-scale products.

However, he said there was no change on the momentum of the stable development of the bilateral trade, which has played an active role to help African countries to face the global financial crisis.

China has adopted a series of measures to encourage imports from African countries, resulting in an increase with China's imports from Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania up 202 percent, 35. 5 percent and 46.7 percent respectively, the Chinese commerce minister said.

China's investment in Africa has increased rapidly with a 77.5 percent year-on-year surge in the first three quarters in 2009, and a 42.3 percent increase in the contracted projects volume in Africa, which has reached 20 billion dollars, according to Chen.

He also noted that China has finished the implementation of the eight measures announced at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2006 as scheduled. The scale of development, aid and cooperation between China and Africa is continuing to expand, signifying a prosperous future of China-Africa cooperation in 2010.

Although the China-Africa bilateral trade volume decreased somewhat in 2009, it is expected to return to the track of rapid increase and development, the Chinese commerce minister said, adding that China has taken the expanding of imports from African countries as the focus of the trade policy towards Africa.

China is also planning to establish an exhibition center for African products in the commodity distribution sites in China's developed coastal areas to facilitate the inflow of African brands, Chen said. The measures are appreciated by African countries, the official told Xinhua.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete admitted that Africa's real development depends on trade, but not aid, Chen said.

The concessional measure of tariff exemption not only benefits expanding of Africa's export to China, but also attracting African countries to enter the Chinese market, he added.

Meanwhile, the Chinese commerce minister promised to enhance the standard and level of the China-Africa trade, including the expansion of import of ready-made products from Africa and the quality of China's exports to Africa. In his eyes, discussions are also needed for establishing distribution centers in Africa.

Chen committed to increasing China's investment in Africa, saying the actual volume exceeding 1 billion dollars in 2009. China is encouraging its companies to enter Africa as a key market, he said.

China is making efforts to establish economic and trade areas in African countries and the China-Africa Development Fund, which will increase to 3 billion dollars in the next three years to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa, are part of the efficient ways to promote the development of local manufacturing industry, increase job opportunities and contribute to the local social and economic development, according to the Chinese official.

He brushed off criticism of "neo-colonialism" against China for boosting its presence in Africa, noting that China's aid to the continent is "no strings attached" and does not seek any economic reward.

China is paying more and more attention to helping African countries to develop national industry and enhance self- development ability, the Chinese commerce minister said, calling for joint efforts from the international community to take more practical action for Africa's development.

Source: Xinhua
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