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China, Africa sign $20.8bn-worth deals at trade expo

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The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo ended in Changsha, Hunan Province with 84 cooperation documents worth $20.8 billion signed between China’s state-owned and private enterprises and their African partners.

The new deals covered areas such as trade, investment, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, aviation and tourism.

The Inspector of the General Office of the People’s Government of Hunan in central China, Luo Jianjun, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the end of the expo, said the agreements have helped explore new path of cooperation and further strengthened China-Africa traditional and strategic partnership.

The expo, announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last September, was established to provide a platform for deepening economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

The three-day event attracted more than 10,000 guests and exhibitors, including those from 53 African countries, according to the organizing committee.

“We look forward to the full use of the expo platform to deepen China’s trade relations with Africa,” he said, assuring that efforts would be made to ensure full implementation of all the agreements.

Earlier at the opening of the expo, China’s Vice-Premier, Hu Chunhua, reiterated his country’s willingness to work with African countries to grasp opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen cooperation in fields including trade, investment and infrastructure.

China has been the largest trading partner of Africa for ten consecutive years. In 2018, trade volume between China and Africa amounted to 204.2 billion U.S. dollars, up 20 percent year on year.

China’s imports of non-resources products from Africa have increased significantly. In 2018, China’s imports from Africa went up 32 percent year on year, with the imports of agricultural products up 22 percent.

Vice-Premier Hu, however, said more efforts are needed to increase import of high-standard Africa goods and services, vigorously expand investment cooperation and boost infrastructure connectivity.

“China owes its progress to reform and opening-up, and will continue to advance along this path,” Hu said.

He added that China is willing to uphold the open world economy and the multilateral trading system, and will further widen market access, optimize the business environment and pursue trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

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