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Egyptian FM sees priority in economic cooperation at China-Africa summit
Cat : Sustainable development
Date : 2006-09-11 18:38:31                      Reader : 363

infrastructure development are issues that both sides need. We wish all progress for China- Africa relations.By the way US is searching military bases in Africa meanwhile China is searching investment and economic cooperation . Then who will gain the future?! Of course CHINA. 11/9/2006

Egyptian FM sees priority in economic cooperation at China-Africa summit

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit has expressed belief that priority should be given to economic cooperation at a Sino-African cooperation forum due in the Chinese capital Beijing in early November.

"My expectations of the forum are that the two sides will continue their efforts to further expand the already excellent ties, especially in the economic field," said the top Egyptian diplomat in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Abul Gheit sees no obstacles in the development of China-Africa relations but challenges that need to be met by the two sides.

In the economic arena, he said, opportunities for trade and investment, especially in Africa, need to be adequately furnished and explored by Chinese investors.

"This could be achieved by investment symposia, dispatch of business delegations, etc.," he said.

To facilitate trade with Africa, China has given zero-tariff treatment to 190 items of export commodities from 29 least developed African countries since Jan. 1, 2005.

Abul Gheit said that preferential trade tools could be further enhanced, thus enabling African exports to tap huge potential of the Chinese market to the benefit of Africa and China.

He expressed hope that Chinese investments in his country could expand in the near future and reach the level that reflects strong ties between the two countries.

Egypt has been improving the environment for foreign direct investment to attract more capital including Chinese investments which are still very modest, he said.

Over the years, Egypt and China have signed several agreements on trade, investment protection and avoidance of double taxation, he said, adding that a joint committee on trade and economic cooperation has held several meetings.

The diplomat's remarks were echoed by Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who has just concluded a week-long visit to China.

Egypt is actively seeking stronger trade and investment ties with China and believes China can become Egypt's No. 1 trading partner over the next 10 years, Rachid said on Sunday.

"We want to be China's gateway to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, through our basket of preferential trade agreements with these markets," he said.

During his visit, Rachid signed an economic cooperation protocol with Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai in a bid to boost bilateral trade to 5 billion U.S. dollars from its current level of 2 billion dollars.

China-Africa economic ties have grown rapidly in recent years, with trade between the two sides rocketing to some 40 billion dollars in 2005 from 4 billion dollars in 1995.

With China's gradual increase of imports from Africa, bilateral economic ties have developed to a new level, said He Wenping, director of the African Studies Section at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Meanwhile, China's direct investment in Africa has amounted to 1.18 billion dollars, with more than 800 Chinese enterprises on the continent.

The forum, with the theme of "Friendship, Peace, Cooperation and Development," is due on Nov. 3-5, when Chinese and African leaders will review China-Africa friendly relations over the past 50 years, blueprint future cooperation and exchange views on major international issues.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, more than 30 African heads of state or government are going to attend the forum, the highest-level and largest-scale gathering between Chinese and African leaders since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The forum comes after Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao's visits to 10 African countries in April and June.

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