China, Egypt vow to cement traditional ties

08:56, April 21, 2011      

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Egypt and China vowed Wednesday to cement their traditional friendly relationship with a number of newly-signed cooperation memos and an aid worth 60 million yuan ( about 9.2 million U.S. dollars).

The new impetus came after a 40-member delegation of Chinese commerce officials and entrepreneurs, led by Chinese Deputy Commerce Minister Fu Ziying, wrapped up a three-day visit to Cairo on Wednesday.

Fu and Nabil Abdel-Hamid, Egyptian Assistant Minister of International Cooperation, signed on Wednesday a technical and economic cooperation agreement in which China will offer aid valued at 60 million yuan. Other deals included training programs for government staff.

According to Fu, China will offer one million U.S. dollars in cash to Egypt to help the latter deal with its evacuations of workers from violence-torn Libya.

Fu met with Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Yehia el-Gamal and Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Samir el-Sayad separately.

"China are willing to import more products from Egypt," Fu said when holding talks with Sayad.

China invites Egyptian companies to promote themselves at the African commodities center in Yiwu, a city famous for its wholesale of products in eastern China's Zhejiang province, and the Arab center in Shanghai. Egyptian companies were also invited to attend international trade fairs held in China.

China and Egypt should both strengthen efforts in expanding trade and improving trade structure, Fu said.

On Tuesday, the China Development Bank (CDB), which set up a representative office in Cairo in 2009, signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with Egypt's Commercial International Bank and CI Capital Holding.

The CDB will continue to help boost the financial stability, market prosperity and economic development through financial cooperation and financing support, said Li Jiping, vice president of the CDB, at a working lunch for Chinese and Egyptian businessmen.

The CDB assumes a loan project of one billion U.S. dollars for the development of African small and medium-sized companies, one of the initiatives announced by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2009 to enhance China-African cooperation. The bank approved the first loan of the project to an Egyptian company last year.

Bilateral trade volume between China and Egypt saw a year-on- year increase of 18.8 percent and reached nearly 7 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. Egypt has been China's fifth largest trade partner among African nations. With 1,100 Chinese firms registered their establishments in Egypt, Chinese accumulative investment in the country reached 335 million U.S. dollars.

After the anti-government protests from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11, which forced Egyptian former President Hosni Mubarak to step down, various protests calling for salary increase or better welfare occurred across Egypt.

The protests have affected Egypt's industrial production and projects which Chinese businessmen were working on in Egypt, said the Egyptian trade minister.

Egypt's investment climate would be good after all of this and the Egyptian government was keen to attracting foreign investment, said Sayad, adding that Egypt will restore stability as soon as possible.

Sayad said Egypt hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in the area of new and renewable energy.

Fu was the second senior Chinese official to visit Egypt after the anti-government protests hit Egypt.

In March, a delegation headed by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visited Egypt and held talks with senior Egyptian official about boosting bilateral ties.

Egypt is struggling to revive its economy through means of attracting investment and tourists back to the country. Tourism, a key income source for Egypt, was dealt a big blow because of the political turmoil.

Egypt has been expecting more tourists from China, a vast market regarded by Egyptian people.

Source: Xinhua
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