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China, ECOWAS move to strengthen ties


09:36, October 25, 2012

ABUJA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The government of China and authorities of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Wednesday moved to strengthen relations by signing a framework agreement for cooperation in specific areas with a view to enhancing economic cooperation between both sides.

The framework agreement was signed in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, when a high-level delegation of ECOWAS and Chinese officials met on ways to boost trade, investment and technical cooperation between China and the sub-region.

"Three months ago in July, we successfully held FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) in Beijing and ECOWAS had a strong delegation there. China is willing to support African integration by all means. China and ECOWAS have made great consensus toward strengthening the ties between them.

ECOWAS is one of the strongest regional blocs implementing great policies and it has been committed to west Africa development. For this reason, it is highly significant for China and ECOWAS to develop certain mechanisms to further deepen cooperation," said Li Jinzao, China's Vice Minister of Commerce who led a delegation of high-level officials from China to the meeting.

In the next three years, according to the vice minister, China will establish trans-national cooperation with African countries and the country will provide customs and commodity inspection facilities to enhance trade and commerce in the region, as part of its support. He added that the move will foster investment cooperation.

Responding to a proposal by the ECOWAS delegation for the Chinese government to assist the West coast of Africa in completing the construction of a 2000 km trans-west African highway project it has embarked on, the Chinese top official assured that the government of the Asian country will respond to the request in due time.

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