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China to support C4 countries on cotton production

(Xinhua)

08:15, December 15, 2011

GENEVA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China and the group of four major African cotton producing countries (C4) announced Wednesday a joint program in Geneva aimed at supporting C4's cotton production through technical and financial assistance over the next few years.

The program, which came one day ahead of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, was jointly announced by the Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and trade ministers or representatives from C4 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali.

Cooperation between the two sides will include technology transfer, technical assistance in researches, provision of seeds, agricultural machinery, fertilizers and pesticides, funding of training projects, as well as exchanges of experience.

"In longer term, we may relocate some of the textile and apparel industry into Africa," Chen told the press, noting that there are already cases of such relocation.

Despite China itself being a big cotton-growing country with approximately 30 million people engaged in the cultivation of cotton, producing more than 7 million tons of cotton per year, the country barely exports any cotton, but rather import from international markets.

"China's cotton market has always been open to C4 countries," Chen said, adding the new program represents a concrete action in "aid for trade" and another step forward in promoting development as stipulated by the Doha Development Agenda.

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