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Sino-African economic cooperation to go deeper: minister

(Xinhua)

08:23, July 18, 2012

BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- China will further enhance trade and economic cooperation with African countries, which are facing new and bigger opportunities in the coming decade, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said.

In a signed article that ran in the Tuesday edition of the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chen said China will stick to the principle of "mutual benefit and development" and promote closer cooperation with Africa.

Chen made the remarks ahead of the fifth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will begin on July 19 in Beijing.

China will work with Africa to promote the upgrading and transformation of trade and economic cooperation, seek the expansion of converging interests with African countries, solve shared "growing pains" and manage external challenges, Chen said.

Cooperation between China and Africa has withstood the financial crisis and witnessed rapid progress, which has brought real benefits to the people of both sides, he said.

China has retained its position as Africa's largest trade partner, with trade volume totaling 166.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, up 83 percent from two years earlier, according to Chen.

China's direct investment in Africa exceeded 14.7 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2011, up 60 percent from 2009.

Africa is China's second largest overseas market for contracted projects. China has aided African countries in the construction of schools, clean energy and water facilities.

Sino-Africa cooperation has reached the beginning of a new phase of development and faces a prolonged global economic recovery, the minister said.

Chen said China will continue to improve investment cooperation and extend industrial chains to Africa to increase employment.

China will cooperate with Africa in more fields, including the financial, commercial, logistics and aviation sectors. More efforts will be made to diversify and deepen cooperation between China and Africa, he said.

China will also focus on improving people's livelihoods in Africa while creating a better environment that helps to boost cooperation between Chinese and African enterprises, he added.

China will work with Africa on the promotion of a free and open global trade system and support Africa during the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks to protect the rights of developing countries, said Chen.

Beijing will host the FOCAC Ministerial Conference on July 19-20. President Hu Jintao and several African leaders will appear at the conference, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said earlier.

China is expected to announce new measures to strengthen cooperation with Africa at the conference.

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