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Increased trade begins to bear 'brilliant fruit'

(China Daily)

08:30, March 21, 2013

China and Africa view each other as a "significant opportunity" for development and they both have "a strong desire" to enhance cooperation, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhai Jun said on Wednesday.

Zhai made the remarks at a news conference in Beijing about President Xi Jinping's first trip overseas as China's top leader. Xi will visit Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo from Friday to Mar 30.

Xi's upcoming visit marks China's important diplomatic move toward Africa, and the trip to the three African countries will deepen the new strategic partnership between China and Africa, Zhai said.

Ties between China and Africa have witnessed a rapid development since the start of the century, and both sides have "harvested brilliant fruit" in cooperation of various degrees, said Zhai, who is in charge of West Asia and North Africa, Africa, North America and Oceania affairs.

China has been Africa's largest trading partner since 2009, and Sino-African trade volume has soared from $10 billion in 2000 to nearly $200 billion in 2012.

The China-Africa strategic partnership has been a success, as Chinese businesses operating in Africa have included thousands of enterprises and more than 1 million employees, Zhai said.

When answering a question about Chinese enterprises' social responsibility in Africa as well as their "growing pains" there, Zhai said Chinese businesses there have contributed to Sino-African ties, and they may have their setbacks due to misunderstandings in the local environment.

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